WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following is a statement by Hank Kim, Esq., Executive Director and Counsel for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) on today’s Arizona Supreme Court ruling upholding constitutional pension rights:
“NCPERS applauds the Arizona Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling upholding a trial court decision finding that a reduction in post-retirement benefits to retired judges and other elected officials violated the pensions clause of the Arizona Constitution.
“The justices correctly rejected the state retirement system’s argument that the benefit reduction was financially necessary and that the traditional federal impairment of contract test – balancing the contract against public necessity – should apply. The justices found instead that the pension clause of the Arizona Constitution was intended to add an additional measure of protection to pension benefits. Even more important, the high court found that the term “benefit” includes the formula by which future payments will be calculated.
“Today’s decision represents a major victory for the protection of public employee retirement benefits, particularly in jurisdictions with constitutionally protected pension contract rights. It is also a victory for the public interest and plain common sense. Too much depends on the integrity of constitutional guarantees, as well as the integrity of public contracts with public employees, to erode public confidence in them.”
The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) is the largest trade association for public sector pension funds, representing more than 550 funds throughout the United States and Canada. It is a unique non-profit network of public trustees, administrators, public officials and investment professionals who collectively manage more than $3 trillion in pension assets. Founded in 1941, NCPERS is the principal trade association working to promote and protect pensions by focusing on advocacy, research and education for the benefit of public sector pension stakeholders.
NOTE: NCPERS filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the Arizona retirees.