Arizona Senate Leaders Looking to Repeal Pension Payment Legislation

December 22, 2011 ( – Arizona Senate Republican leaders are creating legislation to repeal a law requiring state retirement system members to contribute more to their pensions. 

According to the Arizona Daily Sun, if the repeal is successful, the average worker’s biweekly take-home pay will go up by approximately $20.

Prior to the July legislation, workers in the Arizona State Retirement System each contributed an equal amount of the assessment levied to keep the fund financially solvent. After the legislation was passed, workers now have to pay 53% of the total contributions to the plan and the amount paid by their employers is now 47%.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports, Judge Eileen Willet heard arguments last week from three unions representing teachers and state and local governments that the change in the contribution rates is illegal. (See Unions Sue Arizona over Pension Changes). Attorneys told Willet the Arizona Constitution says membership in a public retirement system is contractual, and “benefits shall not be diminished or impaired.” The lawyers argued that altering the contribution formula to get the same benefit is tantamount to reducing the benefit.

The state’s lawyers contended the legislation is legal. Willet did not state when she will rule on the case.