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In recent months some governmental entities have borrowed money through favorably priced bonds to pay off their debt to the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. Not surprisingly, a recent report shows that the system is now on firmer ground.

The system in the past fiscal year received $1.58 billion in additional contributions from cities, counties and the state. That is in addition to $1 billion in regular contributions.

The PSPRS has been controversial in the past but has replaced much of its management as well as contractors in an effort to be responsible and produce a better return. Azcentral.com reports that as a result, governments seem more willing to make back payments. The $1.58 billion compares with only $120 million in such payments over the previous year.

The agency manages retirement funds for first responders and corrections officers as well as elected officials.

The Casa Grande City Council has proceeded on borrowing of $60 million to pay off its debt to the fund, while Pinal County borrowed about $87 million. The incentive was saving millions of dollars in interest to the fund.

Some constituents question why the amount of the debt was so high, but various factors contributed, including some rules that have been changed for the future and the previous management of the fund. The reduction of the unfunded amounts of PSPRS is an encouraging sign. Maybe we’re not Connecticut or Illinois after all.

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