Arizona’s public pension systems for state employees, public safety personnel and corrections officers are on a path toward financial stability, according to a study by a bipartisan think tank.

Despite having funding to meet 71.6 percent of pension obligations — a gap of $14.5 billion — reforms enacted in 2011 have curtailed the growth of future liabilities, according to the Grand Canyon Institute.

“We are back on track, but it will take awhile to recover,” said Dave Wells, research director for the group, which has former Democratic and Republican lawmakers on its board.

The reforms approved by the Legislature included changing the minimum retirement age to 65 with five years of service, 62 with 10 years of service, 60 with 25 years of service and 55 with 30 years of service. If an employee retires and returns to work, as in the case of a teacher, employers must pay back any money the state would have paid toward the employee’s pension fund.” -The Arizona Daily Star

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