Featured speakers at this month's AYRL meeting included Arizona Representatives Noel Campbell and David Stringer, both from LD1. Campbell spoke about the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) Ad Hoc Committee that he is Chairman of, and the challenges facing most of the municipalities across Arizona, including Prescott.
According to Campbell, he was appointed Chairman, and Representative Stringer was appointed Vice Chair because, “Prescott is ground zero in the State pension crisis.”
Campbell explained to the Young Republicans that PSPRS is less than 50% funded and has not earned its expected rate of return in the last 10 years. In Campbell’s opinion, low investment returns and overly generous benefits have depleted the fund to the point that it cannot recover.
Prop 124 was approved by Arizona voters last year. “It was supposed to fix the problem, but it didn’t go far enough,” Campbell said. He noted that Prop 124 will take thirty years to have an impact and it may never accomplish the goal.
Many Arizona communities can’t wait that long for the PSPRS fund to recover, Campbell said, pointing to Bisbee. These communities are being crushed by high pension costs right now and need the state legislature to look at further steps to relieve the pension crisis.
Representative Stringer voiced similar concerns, claiming that Prescott’s effort to tax its way out of their unfunded pension liability issue is doomed to fail. “Even if Prop 143 passes,” Stringer claimed, “It will not be enough."
Stringer said the liability is growing no matter how much money is paid, because the investments are failing to meet the expected rate of return. He believes that continued yearly shortfalls in investment performance will continue to increase Prescott’s liability beyond the current projected amount.
Stringer wants the City of Prescott to use some of the money it has set aside for capital projects to pay down the PSPRS liability. He wrote about this in his column last week, "Opinion: Prop 443 Earthquake - Prescott Has $123.5 Million in Bank”. Stringer, who is not supporting Prop 443, hopes that this information can be a “game changer.”
Watch the entire video of their discussion here:
According to outgoing President Matthew Perry, AYRL is the official state organization for Republican activists under the age of 40, and is a chartered affiliate of the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF). They can track the lineage back to the founding of the Republican Party and President Abraham Lincoln.
Perry served for two years as President, and now welcomed Republican activist Christopher Campbell as the new ALYR President. Christopher Campbell, currently serves as 3rd Vice President of the Arizona Republican Party and is on the state board of the Arizona Republican Assembly. Christopher Campbell resides in Prescott.