Friday, November 7, 2014

Laura and John Arnold Foundation lose $1 million in Phoenix campaign, but they have plenty more to spend

So far, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation has not actively participated in any election in Texas regarding public employee pension plans. At least not to our knowledge. But given their method of operation in other states, we’d bet it won’t be long before they enter the fray here. It’s just a matter of finding a local champion for their cause.

As example of what they are up to, consider the Reuters report Wednesday that the LJAF spent $1 million in Phoenix to pass Prop. 487, a measure to change the non-safety employees’ defined benefit pension system to a 401(k). Somehow the effort raised another $400,000 as well. 

Nonetheless, Phoenix voters rejected Prop. 487 by a large margin, 56.5 to 43.5%. The pension was noted as being 62% funded, which is not comparatively bad compared to some other pensions' funded status. As long as the funded ratio’s trend is in the right direction, with the city and employees working to make the ARC each year, the pension should be able to meet its obligations in the future.

The Phoenix venture was just one of many elections that the Arnold Foundation has participated in. They have been busy in Rhode Island, Florida, California, and Kentucky.

We mention this because we believe it’s only a matter of time that they enter an election in Texas. They are just looking for the right race horse to carry their message. – Max Patterson