Arizona auditor general to Maricopa County: Unfunded pension cost exclusions ‘improper’

The Center Square
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Alan Krawitz

With mounting pension costs in Arizona’s troubled Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), some local governments are looking to creative accounting and pushing the envelope when it comes to what costs can be excluded under current constitutional spending limits.

According to the Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA), a state taxpayer watchdog group, Arizona’s Office of the Auditor General (OAG) determined in its most recent audit, spanning fiscal years 2016 and 2017, that the county has been circumventing its expenditure limit by excluding its unfunded pension liability costs from the limit.

The OAG said the pension exclusions should not be allowed and that the expenditures the county was permitted to exclude were actually $3.3 million as opposed to the $60.9 million it reported.

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