by Jim Nintzel
The Range mentioned last week that the upcoming city election could be a sleepy affair.
But a new group has filed paperwork to run an initiative to phase out the city’s current pension program for most employees.
The Committee for Sustainable Retirement has to collect roughly 12,720 valid signatures from Tucson voters by July 5 in order to land a spot on the November ballot.
Pete Zimmerman of Zimmerman and Associates is coordinating the paid signature drive and anticipates that the committee can get gather enough signatures in the next month to qualify for the ballot.
The measure would not affect current employees and current retirees, nor would it affect cops and firefighters because their pension program is part of a state program, Zimmerman said.
But future employees would not be eligible for the pension program; instead, they'd have the option of enrolling in a 401K-style plan, according to Zimmerman.
"In our mind, everybody wins on this thing," Zimmerman says. "The employees will still have their pensions and it will save taxpayer money in the long run and we won't have to cut city services if people don't want to raise taxes."
The effort is being funded by The Initiative Fund, according to Zimmerman.
California Watch had this tidbit about the Liberty Initiative Fund last year:
The biggest anti-Prop. 28 contribution came from the Liberty Initiative Fund, a new Virginia-based advocacy organization started by longtime ballot initiative activist Paul Jacob. Jacob doesn't like Mitt Romney much better than Barack Obama and wrote of former President George W. Bush's policies: "Too few of us dubbed it 'socialism' back then."
Jacob said Prop. 28 proponents are "masquerading" as term limit supporters when, in reality, they're trying to weaken them.
"This is a very serious scam being played on the people of California, and we want to do everything we can to alert folks," Jacob said. "If the word gets out, the people will overwhelmingly defeat Prop 28."
The Liberty Initiative Fund started this year "to put measures on the ballot that will expand and protect individual freedom, economic freedom, and that will hold government accountable," Jacob said. It is working on initiative efforts in Colorado, Washington, Arkansas, North Dakota, Montana, Arizona and Nevada. Jacob declined to identify the organization's donors.
"We’re relatively a pretty small player, but we think that’s going to change, and change rapidly," Jacob said.
More on the Liberty Initiative Fund’s Paul Jacob here.
Here's a copy of the initiative: 2013-I004.pdf