An Arizona lawmaker wants the state Constitution amended to allow cuts to public employee pension payouts and increases in employee contributions if the systems are badly underfunded.
Republican Representative John Kavanagh introduced a bill that if passed would refer the proposal to the voters. He says he is targeting automatic cost of living increases but nothing in his proposal would prevent cuts to existing pensions. Kavanagh said payouts from the state's pension plans would have to be trimmed and contributions from employees and employers raised if reasonable accounting practices found cuts were needed. Just how badly underfunded a plan must be to trigger cuts is not defined. Democratic House Minority Leader Chad Campbell acknowledges the pension system has problems. But he said Tuesday that Kavanagh's plan is a publicity stunt.