Supporters

Prop 201 has a broad coalition of support from across the public and private sectors.

Mayor Greg Stanton

The City of Phoenix must always look to our future, anticipating challenges and meeting them with innovative solutions. That is why I was proud when the city council, in a unanimous, bipartisan vote, referred Proposition 201 to the ballot with support from community leaders and organizations from every part of our city.

Municipal governments across the nation are facing a need for comprehensive pension reform. While some cities may choose to kick their tough decisions down the road, we understand that fair, balanced reform now will save Phoenix from much more serious problems in the future.

Proposition 201 will increase employee age and service requirements for retirement qualification, boost employee contributions to the retirement system and save taxpayers $596 million over the next 23 years. These changes will only affect new employees. Current City employees will not be impacted.

Just as important, this measure will preserve our ability to attract top talent by ensuring that the City retirement system is secure and stable far into the future.

At a time when government finds it hard to reach consensus, I am proud to present you with a bi-partisan solution that is fair, pro-active, and saves money. I hope you will join me in giving Proposition 201 your full support.

Submitted By:
GREG STANTON


Councilmen Tom Simplot and Daniel Valenzuela, Phoenix Pension Reform Committee Co-Chairs

Vice Mayor Michael Johnson
Councilwoman Thelda Williams
Councilman Jim Waring
Councilman Bill Gates
Councilman Sal DiCiccio
Councilman Michael Nowakowsk

On March 12, the City of Phoenix has the opportunity to save taxpayers nearly $600 million over the next 23 years at the same time ensuring the retirement system continues to meet the needs of our municipal employees through Proposition 201, Comprehensive Pension Reform. Phoenix is one of the first cities in the nation preparing to take proactive measures to reform our pension system.

For more than a year, a group of volunteer Phoenix citizens lent their time and expertise as members of the Pension Reform Task Force. The results of their exhaustive review indicated the City of Phoenix should be proactive and enact a comprehensive pension reform to ensure the system will not over burden our taxpayers.

In order to enact these comprehensive pension reforms, we urge you to join us in voting Yes on Proposition 201 on March 12, 2013.

Proposition 201 provides for several reforms to the City of Phoenix pension system for new employees including establishing a 50/50 employer-employee equal partnership to pay for the system and increasing the employee age/service formula to qualify for retirement.

Proposition 201 is a reform that works for everyone, which is why we ask you to join us in voting YES on Proposition 201 on March 12, 2013.

Submitted By:

TOM SIMPLOT
Councilmember, City of Phoenix
Honorary Co-chair
Phoenix Pension Reform Committee

DANIEL T. VALENZUELA
Councilmember, City of Phoenix
Honorary Co-chair
Phoenix Pension Reform Committee


Phoenix Pension Reform Commission, Chaired by Rick DeGraw

The City of Phoenix Pension Reform Task Force was established to recommend responsible reforms to the City of Phoenix Employees’ Retirement Plan. The Commission met for more than a year to review options and produce recommendations to the Phoenix City council.

The Task Force made a nearly unanimous recommendation to the City to reform the pensions program to:

  • Create a system that is fair to employees and taxpayers;
  • Save taxpayers millions of dollars; and
  • Maintain a competitive pension package so Phoenix can continue to recruit high-quality employees.

Proposition 201 incorporates most of our suggested changes and we strongly recommend its passage. Proposition 201 will save taxpayers at least $596 million over the next 23 years. It will affect ONLY those employees hired after July 1, 2013.

Proposition 201 is fair because it divides the pension costs equally between employees and the City – employees pay 50% and the City pays 50%. This accounts for the greatest savings to the City and taxpayers.

Proposition 201 will also require most City employees to work more than three years longer to qualify for maximum pension benefits.

Proposition 201 will be competitive because it:

  • Recognizes previous public service for the State of Arizona;
  • Requires employees to work a full year to receive a year of retirement service credit;
  • Eliminates minimum pension requirements; and
  • Calculates pension benefits more accurately based on the employee’s years of service.

We urge a YES vote on Proposition 201.

Submitted By:

RICK DEGRAW, Chair
RICHARD REA
JACK THOMAS
ANN SEIDEN
KAREN SCHROEDER
MARK DOBBINS
ROGER PECK

Submitted on Behalf of:

PHOENIX PENSION REFORM COMMISSION


Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

Dear City of Phoenix Voters:

In the Spring of 2012, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) membership engaged in the public process to review and provide input to the City of Phoenix budget. Through this process, the GPCC Budget Task Force identified there was a need to re-structure the employee pension offerings and address the associated liabilities. In May of 2012, GPCC made a recommendation to the Phoenix City Council to continue to pursue more optimal employee benefit programs that are reflective of current day plans, more specifically, to consider opportunities to move toward a balanced contribution rate by the employee and employer. Additionally, GPCC recommended further evaluation of migrating from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan with the suggestion to make incremental steps to create a more cost-effective and fiscally responsible plan over time.

The Chamber believes that Proposition 201 is a step in the right direction for improving the city’s pension system. It creates a more balanced pension offering which benefits the taxpayer while saving nearly $600 million over 25 years. It will establish an equal contribution rate to retirement plans, more accurately calculate the benefits per employee based on their years of service, increase the time of service requirements for employees and allow the city the option to pay down unfunded liabilities beyond the single year requirement. On behalf of the 2600 member businesses and Board of Directors, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce supports a YES vote on Proposition 201. It is a solid first step toward pension reform and noticeable demonstration the Mayor and Council of Phoenix are listening to the business community.

Sincerely,

TODD SANDERS
President & CEO

AMY BRATT
Manager, Public Affairs & Economic Development

Submitted on Behalf of:

GREATER PHOENIX CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


Cox Communications

As our country recovers from a damaging economic recession, both the fiscal health and reputation of the City of Phoenix as a desirable place to live and work are essential for our successful recovery. Key to this is the reform of the City’s employee pension program to ensure its long-term viability.

As a major employer in Phoenix, Cox Communications understands the challenges of balancing a healthy compensation program to attract and retain top talent in the workforce, with the financial realities of running a business and providing quality service to customers. The City is no different in that regard, they need to be competitive to attract and retain top quality employees, but they cannot provide benefits that are not sustainable in the long run and do not require a commensurate commitment from the employees themselves.

Proposition 201 is a proactive effort to implement important reforms to the current pension program, which is unsustainable in its current form. Right now, the City and its taxpayers shoulder a disproportionate responsibility for funding the pension program, which in other cities across the country has yielded disastrous results – underfunded pension programs and financial catastrophe. Requiring a 50/50 contribution between the city and the employees and reasonably increasing the required retirement age and years of service are responsible and necessary changes contained in Proposition 201 that need to be approved in order for the City to bring stability and predictability to its pension program.

While there is more work to be done to continue to improve the City’s pension program, Proposition 201 strikes the right balance of protecting an important employee benefit to allow the City to continue to attract and retain the brightest and best workforce, while still being responsible to the taxpayers who end up paying for these benefits.

Support Proposition 201!

Submitted By:

SUSAN ANABLE
Vice President of Public Affairs
Cox Communications Southwest Region


Grand Canyon University

I support Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilman Daniel Valenzuela in their campaign to reform the pension program for the City of Phoenix. These efforts, which have the unanimous backing of the City Council, demonstrate great foresight and are critical to the city’s fiscal sustainability. Many U.S. cities are facing such challenges today, and it’s encouraging to see ours working toward a prudent, long-term solution that will save taxpayers $600 million over the next quarter-century. I urge your support on March 12 of Proposition 201, which will create a retirement system that is fair to employees and taxpayers alike.

Sincerely,

BRIAN MUELLER
President
Grand Canyon University


Phoenix Parks Foundation

Since 1979 the Phoenix Parks Foundation has been an active partner with the City of Phoenix by advocating for an inviting, well-equipped, safe park and preserve system for all to enjoy.

During this time the Foundation has come to realize that in addition to our hundreds of parks and open space amenities, the City of Phoenix also counts it employees as one of its greatest assets.

In order to leverage our 200 city parks, 30,000 acres of preserves and more than 200 miles of trails requires the City of Phoenix to attract and retain the employees necessary for maintaining these facilities and implementing programs to better serve the public.

Proposition 201, Comprehensive Pension Reform, is a proactive measure referred to the ballot by a bi-partisan and unanimous vote of our Mayor and City Council to ensure the City of Phoenix can continue to attract strong employees and provide competitive retirement benefits while also reducing the cost for taxpayers by $596 million over 23 years.

Proposition 201 is a ballot measure that provides a balanced approach to reform the retirement system for Phoenix municipal employees that is fair, innovative and saves money.

Passing these sound reforms will allow Phoenix to continue to meet its employees needs by ensuring pension money is not taken away from those who have already earned it but requires that new employees work longer and pay an equal share of their pension plan.

Please join me in voting YES on Proposition 201 to ensure the City of Phoenix can continue to augment the physical assets of our park and preserve system with the personnel required for them to reach their highest potential in serving the public.

Sincerely,

BRANDON GOAD
President
Phoenix Parks Foundation


CitizensForPhoenix.Org

(Co-Founded by Ann Malone and Paul Barnes, Directed by Neal Haddad)

Citizens for Phoenix.org reluctantly recommends a YES vote on Prop 201 because it is the only option available that attempts to reduce the City’s pension contributions over the coming years. While other pension reform options were presented to the City Council, some of which could have afforded much greater certainty in cost savings, these were rejected by them in favor of the changes contained in Prop 201. As a result, this Proposition is the only pension “reform” that Phoenix voters can consider.

While remaining a Defined Benefit plan, Prop 201 changes the amount employees must contribute and also increases the number of years of service an employee must work to attain full retirement benefits. It applies only to employees hired after July 1, 2013. If these modest changes are not approved by the voters, the City will continue to face pension costs which are unsustainable over time.

However, we have deep reservations regarding the methodology Phoenix used to estimate their cost savings of nearly $600 million over the next 23 years. We believe that this savings projection is not likely to be realized because of their overly optimistic expected returns of 8% in the markets. If we are correct, the City will need to propose other solutions to the voters in the not too distant future. In other words, there is no guarantee that Prop 201 will meet its savings objectives as stated by the city.

In spite of these concerns, we must nonetheless recommend a YES vote on Proposition 201 since a NO vote would leave the current structure in place, doing nothing to help reduce the City’s future costs and the current status quo will become an increasing threat to the City’s budget and to Phoenix taxpayers.

Submitted By:

B. PAUL BARNES
Co-Founder

ANN MALONE
Co-Founder

NEAL HADDAD
Director

Submitted on Behalf of:
CITIZENS FOR PHOENIX.ORG


Valle Del Sol

Since 1970, Valle del Sol has grown to be one of Arizona’s largest nonprofit organizations helping thousands of men, women, children, families and the elderly meet their needs through primary care, behavioral health, human services, and leadership development programs.

I support the leadership of the private citizens who volunteered their time and expertise as members of the Phoenix Pension Reform Commission and urges Phoenix voters to support their recommendations by voting “YES” on Proposition 201 calling for comprehensive pension reform.

In addition to saving nearly $600 million for the City of Phoenix, Proposition 201 also ensures the health of the Phoenix Retirement System, allowing it meet the needs of municipal employees to ensure Arizona’s largest city continues to attract and retain the highest level of applicants who have chosen public service as their career.

Proposition 201 is a balanced measure supported unanimously on a bipartisan basis by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton the Phoenix City Council. Proposition 201 deserves your support on March 12.

Submitted By:

KURT R. SHEPPARD
Chief Executive Officer
Valle del Sol


Phoenix Community Alliance

Phoenix Community Alliance is a non-profit organization and has been a prime mover of quality development in Downtown and Central Phoenix for 30 years.

Today’s financial environment makes it imperative to have city government demonstrate sound fiscal management. The City of Phoenix has proven itself to be a national leader when it comes to administering citizen tax dollars.

Evidence of the City’s capacity to operate within a budget was made clear when they managed a budget shortfall in 2009-10/2010-11 in the General Fund. The City of Phoenix took a $277 million shortfall here and took it through community-based deliberations to a structurally balanced budget in 2011-12 and again in 2012-13.

This year the City, once again, will seek your assistance, to ensure that its fiscal house is in order. The passage of Proposition 201 will reform the City of Phoenix Retirement System. The Mayor and City Council working with management and with employees referred a plan that will save the City of Phoenix $596 million over the next two decades for a March 11 vote.

After review, it is our opinion that this plan provides comprehensive pension reform with an approach that is fair to employees and saves the taxpayer dollars.

We urge you to vote YES on Proposition 201.

Submitted By:
JO MARIE MCDONALD
Vice President

DONALD KEUTH
President

Submitted on Behalf of:
PHOENIX COMMUNITY ALLIANCE


Westmarc

WESTMARC – the Western Maricopa Coalition – is the West Valley’s coalition of cities and towns, the business community and the educational sector west of Interstate 17. WESTMARC supports City of Phoenix Propositions 201 and 202 as the result of a collaborative effort of city officials and employee representatives to address the city’s antiquated employee pension system. These measures will take effect for employees hired after July 1, 2013 and will enable the city’s taxpayers to save at least $596 million over the next 23 years. We commend the Phoenix City Council for tackling this controversial issue by appointing a task force representing diverse perspectives and developing a proposal which received unanimous approval by the city’s council members.

Submitted By:
MICHELLE RIDER
President and CEO

BILL SHELDON
Chairman of the Board

Submitted on Behalf of:
WESTMARC

Arizona Tax Research Association