Arizona House Committee Passes Cook’s Bill To Pay Down Debt And Protect Public Safety Pensions

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved HB 2035, a bill sponsored by Rep. David Cook, intended to chip away at the state’s unfunded liabilities.

Cook’s legislation would pay down unfunded liabilities within the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), which was established in 1968 to provide a uniform statewide retirement program for public safety personnel.

HB 2035 would appropriate nearly $1.6 billion from the state General Fund to PSPRS to reduce unfunded accrued liability for state agencies.

“Our state continues to take deliberate steps to responsibly address its debt, rather than kick it down the road for future generations, as the federal government has,” said Representative Cook. “By paying down our pension liabilities and reducing our overall state debt, we will make sure that our highly-regarded public safety professionals receive the pay and pensions that we promised them – just as they have promised us to protect and serve. Moreover, it will help strengthen the fundamental position of Arizona’s economy, attract new opportunities, and drive future growth. I appreciate my colleagues, especially Chairwoman Cobb, for their support to move this important bill forward.”

While numerous legislators have made high-profile pushes to use Arizona’s recent surpluses for additional tax cuts or massive new spending programs, Cook has continued advocating for using a portion of the surpluses to pay off state debt, believing it is both morally right and fiscally responsible as well – saving Arizona taxpayers future interest costs they would have otherwise have to pay.

In 2021, Cook’s resolve was largely responsible for Arizona paying off roughly $1 Billion in state debts, even while the Arizona Legislature passed a $1.7 Billion tax cut, the largest in state history.

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