McClellan misrepresents facts of ASRS - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Letters To The Editor

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McClellan misrepresents facts of ASRS

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Posted: Monday, September 17, 2012 2:00 pm

I’d like to commend Mike McClellan (“We’ll believe anything that conforms to our world view, contrary to the facts,” AFN, Sept. 5) on an extraordinary well-written commentary in defense of the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS).

Extraordinarily clever in his use of deception, subterfuge and obfuscation to misrepresent the true facts about ASRS.

McClellan coyly begins his discussion by talking of 401(k) and 403(b) retirement accounts, implying to the uninformed reader that the Arizona State Retirement System is the same kind of plan as yours might be in the public sector. And McClellan is correct, sort of.

ASRS is a retirement plan with employee contributions. Employer contributions, if any, are from us taxpayers (since we, ultimately, provide the payroll).

The real slippery slope can be found in the actual full name for the ASRS retirement system. The Arizona State Retirement System FIXED BENEFIT PLAN, ASRS(FBP), details at

Now do you see the problem? Unlike your and my retirement plans tied to market conditions, if ASRS(FBP) comes up short, guess who makes up the loss? The plan doesn’t have to reduce benefits, we taxpayers have to cover the loss, see for discussion. This shortfall is happening all over the U.S. and is bringing government budgets to their knees.

For amusement, I took a “few” years off my age so that, by ASRS(FBP) requirements, I could retire next year. I assumed I started teaching (math, of course) right after acquiring my master’s degree and that I had taught for 35 years. I went to the ASRS(FBP) retirement benefit estimator website,, and filled in the blanks.

I could receive 85 percent of the average of my last three years income. Nice, huh? I wish I had such a plan, don’t you?

I’m sure I’ll now be treated to a dose of “Sick of (fill in any non-liberal’s name) political views.” Don’t you just love such attempts to restrain free speech?

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