The Arizona Legislature attempted to deal with funding problems for several state retirement systems during this past session.

Changes were made to reduce government contribution rates, early retirement and bolster "return-to-work" employer contributions, which brings us closer to full funding. The All Arizona School Retirees Association (AASRA) endorses many of these changes.

A feasibility study on changing the concept of defined benefits of retirement will be conducted by a committee charged to gauge the costs and benefits from possible changes to 401(k)-type accounts.

AASRA urges the committee to investigate this in an open-minded fashion. We believe they will find that the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) is among the top tier systems in the U.S., both in retirement funding levels and in health insurance costs.

Over the years, the ASRS has been proactive in enhancing the long-term viability of their programs. Costs are kept low, investment decisions have been sound and management is a model for other systems.

Arizona will not become another Illinois or California.

Let's keep our state retirement systems as an incentive for good service and loyalty in public sector jobs. AASRA urges the committee do a thorough and complete investigation.

Steve Poe

All Arizona School Retirees Association President

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