Thursday, February 15, 2018

The House passed HB 2421

Rep. Richard Andrade's House Bill 2421, which extends absence from employment protection to National Guard Members, passed the House. To read the bill click here.

The House passed HB 2419

Rep.Richard Andrade's House Bill 2419, which authorizes a monument to Buffalo Soldiers in Wesley Boling Plaza, passed the House. To read the bill click here.

State Pension Fund Bills Don’t Get a Hearing: Representative Athena Salman’s bills would cut hefty fees

Feb. 15, 2018
Contact: Robbie Sherwood

PHOENIX, State Capitol – This morning, Representative Athena Salman and allies urged Chairman David Livingston of the Appropriations Committee to hear two bills that would protect the state’s pension funds. Representative Salman submitted two bills, HB 2634 and 2639, that would protect state pension funds from being siphoned by exorbitant fees. One bill, in particular, enjoys strong bipartisan support. Chairman Livingston has refused to add the bills to the committee’s agenda, leaving Arizona’s pensions vulnerable to predatory financial advisers.

Representative Salman called on the chairman to take action in the face of the state’s pension crisis, “We need to pay our pension obligations, not line the pockets of private equity firms and other Wall Street bankers. My bills would provide the transparency we need to do just that.”

CASE (Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy) Executive Director Brendan Walsh joined Rep. Salman’s call. “The voters of Arizona have empowered the state legislature to protect its tax dollars and use them wisely. It’s shocking that we don’t know how much money is being diverted from retired workers to private equity managers.”

UNITE HERE Local 11 Vice President Betty Guardado also spoke. “We deal with private equity companies in our hotels. They are squeezing Arizona tax payers just like they squeeze our members.”

Arizona faces a crippling challenge to meet its obligations to its retired workers. The state legislature has invested a large portion of its pension with private equity firms in an attempt to keep the system afloat. Those funds come with hefty fees, little transparency, and tax loopholes for the firm’s executives.

In 2008, the Arizona State Retirement Systems committed $100 million to private equity firm CBRE Global Investors.[i] The firm manages $87 billion around the world.[ii] CBRE boasted that it collected $1.1 billion in carried interest and fee payments from investors from 2006 to 2010, when Arizonans were struggling in the Great Recession.[iii]

Arizonans have no idea how much of the $1.1 billion collected by CBRE came out of their pockets. And thanks to the “carried interest tax loophole”, CBRE executives got a $42.1 million tax break from 2006 to 2010. Representative Salman’s bills address these problems.

HB 2634: The Investment Fee Transparency Act

Arizona workers depend on our public pension funds when they retire, but the private equity firms managing their money are not required to disclose the fees they charge. HB 2634, the Investment Fee Transparency Act, would change that, shining a light on fees paid to private equity firms so Arizona workers can determine if they’re getting the best deal possible. Every dollar of Arizona pension fund money that goes to fees is a dollar that doesn’t go to a retired Arizona worker providing for their family.

HB 2639: The Carried Interest Tax Fairness Act

Currently, private equity executives take advantage of the carried interest loophole to slash taxes they pay on performance bonuses from 39.6% to 20%.[iv] HB 2639, the Carried Interest Tax Fairness Act, would impose a surtax on personal income equal to the taxes private equity executives should be paying to the federal government and send that money to the state’s general fund.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed HB 2575

Rep. Reginald Bolding's House Bill 2575, which allows homeless veterans to apply and receive an ID if they do not have a residence address or their address is a shelter that provides services to the homeless, passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. To read the bill click here.

Monday, February 12, 2018

House Education Committee Approves HB 2373

Rep. Kirsten Engel's House Bill 2373 classroom teacher supply assistance which Provides teachers with extra funding to help cover the cost classroom supplies passed the House Education Committee on February 12, 2018. To read the bill click here.

Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee passes HB 2475, HCM 2007 and HCM 2008

Rep.Richard Andrade's House Bill 2475 and House Concurrent Memorial 2007 and 2008 passed the House Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee on February 12, 2018. To read HB 2475 click here. To read HCM 2007 click here. To read HCM 2008 click here.

The AZ House passes HCM 2001

Rep. Cesar Chavez's House Concurrent Memorial 2001, asking Congress to renegotiate NAFTA, passed the House on February 12, 2018.  To read the bill click here.