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Firefighters launch TV ad slamming lawmakers over pension

by Dara Kam | March 11th, 2011

Firefighters rescuing politicians out to give them a pay cut?

That’s part of the message in a TV ad running in the Tallahassee market launched this week by the Florida Professional Firefighters association.

“We’re fighting back – just like we fight to protect you,” a basso announcer says as firefighters combat blazes and rescue car crash victims.

The firefighters are among the unions fighting Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal that they contribute 5% of their salaries towards their retirement. That would split their pensions costs with state and local governments that now pay 100% of workers’ pensions.

A Senate committee approved a watered-down pension-reform measure yesterday. Workers who earn less than $40,000 would not have to pay anything toward their retirement; workers whose salaries top $40,000 would pay 2 percent of their paychecks up to $75,000, when the contribution rate would jump to 4 percent.

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57 Responses to “Firefighters launch TV ad slamming lawmakers over pension”

  1. Gail, West Palm Beach FL Says:

    I think this is a governmental conspiracy to make our lives/retirement the worst they can make it for the baby boomers and future generations.

  2. JKM Says:

    Gail – what are you smoking? Baby Boomers ARE retired. They are part of the reason this country is so screwed up. They took all they could and keep shouting for more. Welfare queens have nothing on your average 65 year old these days,,,,gimme, gimme, gimme. AKA “I got mine, forget about yours.” Look who is running this country. Congress is full of Boomers who continue to screw each and every future generation.

  3. Sherry Says:

    Firefighters are the most overpaid and over-worshiped bunch of part-timers I have ever seen. In PBC, the average pay and benefits is $150,ooo per year. HELLO! Does anyone realize how much a single firefighter will cost taxpayers by the time he dies? Over 20 million dollars. I don’t care how hard they work, we simply cannot afford to pay one public service employee 20 million for his “lifetime” of service (aka 20 years)

  4. PFM Says:

    I wish people would stop saying we have a “Budget Problem”! We don’t, we have a “Revenue Problem”. We let too many people get away without paying their fair share for our state/country. We also give away tax cuts to corporations in the HOPE that they will hire, but all they have been doing for the past ten years is give CEO million and management bonuses.

  5. Gail, West Palm Beach FL Says:

    JKM – Here’s the definition of a baby boomer – The United States Census Bureau considers a baby boomer to be someone born during the demographic birth boom between 1946 and 1964. What are you Smoking, ya think ya know it all!!

  6. Searcher Says:

    JKM must not know how to do math. He was probably homeschooled. I’m a Baby Boomer and I have another 15 or 20 years to go before I retire. Now JKM says that the Boomers are RETIRED and are in CONGRESS. Well, which is it?

  7. Financial Attorney Says:


    I’d have to say I agree with you.

    Gail, I known many seniors that put these lawmakers in-place on Nov. 02. I myself am a 3rd generation republican. The 60 and older crowd wants everything for nothing.

    Sad really, my grandfather fought in WWII, gave his baby boomer children everything he didn’t have, and his baby boomer children, along with the whole generation 1940-1965, from 1991-now have totally destroyed the US, family values, economic sense, foundations of patriotism, everything that made US great, the baby boomers destroyed in 35 years time.

    Now as a 37 year old Republican today, the New American Dream is being educated, owning outright my house, my cars, having 46,326 liquid to deal with lifes events, total security so no bank or entitlement program owns me.

    You as a Republican, Gail are a failure, and are asking me, whos higher educated and finanical accountable for my life, to fund your mistakes.

    No Thanks, Let me say again!

    No thanks Gail, you made your own life decisions and must now live with those decisions, as every senior citizen must, who voted Nov. 2, 2010.

    Gail, “DON”T TREAT ON ME”, I’m a modern day Republican.

  8. Your Mom Says:

    @Searcher – you have to work 15-20 more years to retire and you consider yourself a Baby Boomer???? Methinks you need to check YOUR math.

    What have you been doing for the past 40-60 odd years? Certainly not saving any money for a proper retirement.

  9. Financial Attorney Says:

    @Gail and Searcher,

    What’s both your educations?

    Be honest? Because as I do trail work I might design questions to trick you.

  10. Financial Attorney Says:


    Your family member is in a serious car accident, the firefighters that would arrive on scene would be your best friends.

    Sherry I’ve watch friends die right in front of me. You know about that??

    You try being bravo enough for 1 day and think about what it means to approch a house or car on fire and knowing that might be the last day of your life.

    Look in that mirror, then tell me your comment was morally correct!

  11. Gail, West Palm Beach FL Says:

    Financial Attorney How did you come up with what you said? For someone who says they are highly educated, you’re quite DUMB. I am NOT a republican,
    I own my home and autos outright for a number of years and I hope to early retire in 5 yrs. I don’t think the people of my age who screwed it up, its actually the younger people who had to have the bigger homes and luxurious autos and live higher on the hog than they could afford. I have lived in my means my entire life. I NEVER bought anything I could not afford to pay for. It’s great living debt free and have a bunch saved for retirement. You should not have pre-judged me!! Shame on you, and you’re an attorney? I’m also educated. This must be the reason why I can’t stand attorneys because their S–t don’t stink!

  12. mustlovedawgs Says:

    What’s new the firefighter’s union is out to sabotage a well minded plan to save our state’s economy. Thank goodness for our state’s strong policy leaders (Scott, Haridopolos, and Cannon). If it weren’t for those three making the hard political choices, state employee unions would be running our state into so much debt that the baby boomers of FY 3000 would feel the pain.

  13. Financial Attorney Says:

    Gail, let me demostrate Baby Boomer manners.

    Gail, you see me call you a name. No!!!

    Gail, sounds like you don’t need social security and will fore go the program. Thank God, one less ponzi schemer in the mix.

    What’s your education again Gail, you didn’t want that tested, huh?

    Who crap stinks?

    At what age did you own your house, cars, and have liquid funds of 5 figures Gails?

    Not 37!!!!


  14. Gail's Therapist Says:

    Gail, take your medicine, you know, the one to stop the delusions.

  15. Gail, West Palm Beach FL Says:

    Financial attorney Your an idiot and not worth my time. Have a glorious day ripping off your clients in your ponzi schemes! PS The 5 figure needs to be changed to 6 and one property needs to change to 3. Have a great life!

  16. Financial Attorney Says:


    Hardiopolo, has a worthless history degree. You’re citing a uneducated politians opinion of economics.

    Your better off asking the local street corner drug dealer for his economic opinion, over hardiopolo. Sorry I guess Rick Scott, could count as the street corner drug dealer now.

    I understand why as a Baby Boomer, now you have no retirement, and HAVE to TREAD ON ME as a Republican.

    Sir, please hand me over all your money, you’re now able to handle it yourself, as you support unlicensed and uneducated financial retirement planning.

  17. What Says:

    Wow… fight the legislators who are watering down the really bad proposal…

    Maybe legislators should just throw in the towel and agree with the governor.

  18. Daniel Says:

    Our brave soldiers fight in foreign countries without basic comforts and are paid about $20,000 per year. Why are we paying firefighters and paramedics $150,000? Young men used to do this as volunteer work in addition to regular paying jobs to serve their communities. Now we have middle aged men pumping iron all day, fighting the traffic to get to the grocery store for steaks and movie rentals and for that we owe them $150,000 per year and all our gratitude? Please, I know many many people would gladly work for half that if it were not for the union purchase of and stanglehold on our public officials.

  19. Andy Says:

    All of you are going off on tangents. Question: Why is it the Public union employees expect for us (the tax payers) to pay for EVERYTHING for them – Pay, Benifits, Pension (100%), Sick days, in some cases cars and Gas (see police) I know they have tough jobs – so do millions of other none Government employees and the Military. We Americans need to get out of the “Gimmie gimmie gimmie” mentality. Alls that is afforded to us is the Right to the PURSUIT of “life, liberty, and happiness”. Key word PURSUIT. So go out and earn it. Politicians, should cut taxes and EVERY program and let us be in charge of the money we earn.

  20. Sherry Says:

    I do not believe for a moment that a firefighter making $150,000 per year is any more capable of pulling someone out of a burning building than someone who makes half that amount. The hero worship and brainwashing has got to end. If no firefighter showed up, people, just regular people, who aren’t getting paid anyting, would step up. Why do firefighters think they are doing the impossible? They are not. If firefighters went on strike tomorrow, others would step in and do what you do for less and maybe even for nothing.

  21. Financial Attorney Says:


    Sir, when you frame this as you have.

    You dishonor many firefighters that have given their lives to save the life’s of others.

    How dare you sir!

    I know firefighters that have risked it all, and did so not thinking of a salary.

    You sir can not price out saving someones life.

    Your attempt at trying to price out someones life is joke.

  22. Financial Attorney Says:


    No, Sherry, that would not happen and to think that would happen is so foolish, I’m not going to response.

    Sherry, honestly, someone as you, on the side of the road or in burning house, no, someone as me, you’re not worth me risking my life for, I’ll let you die than call the police. Police or firefighter not around, your dead foresure.

    Maybe I’d save your grandchild, only because of it being a child.

    Make no mistake, many in my age group. They’re not interested in helping people like you.

  23. Save us from Gov Unions Says:

    Government unions have failed the taxpayers. Let’s be clear; Government workers are paid with taxpayer money. They then give some of that taxpayer money to unions, who then “buy” democrats who support higher wages and benefits. It’s a cycle that has been slowly bleeding our country dry for decades. Finally we have a couple of Governors who somehow got elected in spite of the rigging by unions and are standing up to the bully tactics and shining a bright light on this ugly truth. Government workers should not be unionized. It has created an unfair advantage to the individual taxpayers who both have to support their financial windfalls and deal with the unfortunate dominance of liberal politicians and policies, and it has strained our financial systems from cities to states to the federal government. Unions + taxpayer money = spoiled brats and rowdy thugs who will not be happy until the workers don’t have to show up at all for their six figure salaries!

  24. Financial Attorney Says:

    @Save us from Gov Unions,

    Sir, I have a 6 figure salary and the only “UNION” I know of taking from my 6 figure salary are Senior Citizens that blew their “Retirements”.

    55% of United States 2012 Budget is Social Security.

    50% cut of medicare right now on national level, solves State of Florida Budget issues right a way.

    Paying firefighters and police to show up to save my kids at home or at schools!!!


  25. concerned, West Palm Beach FL Says:

    Does Financial Attorney work? It seems he has a comment to say about everything.

  26. Financial Attorney Says:



    I made my $3500 in 3 days this week. Before I hit up FTL to get a South American Hottie in my car tonight.

    I take my time to enjoy other things, what’s it to you?

  27. concerned, West Palm Beach FL Says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the financial attorney is not an attorney at all. He is very egotistic though. Oh such fun!

  28. Financial Attorney Says:


    Outside of your assuption.

    I’m also the 2nd shooter on the grassy nole in Dallas 1963.

    Some call me “Bigfoot”.

    South American Hotties, can’t tell you the part after “Big”, they call me.

    What’s your point?

    You pissed, because I’m not going to let you bad month people that save others life’s?

  29. Financial Attorney Says:


    My ego goes by another name.

    emily dickinson

  30. Financial Attorney Says:


    From My Ego

    “It is better to be the hammer than the anvil”

    In this case you are the latter part.

  31. concerned@westpalmbeach Says:

    How is it outside the assumption? You already had Gail as a republican and high in debt when that wasn’t even mentioned?

  32. Financial Attorney Says:


    You want answer from me or my ego?

    You assume I’ve not what I say I am.

    Your assumptions are just that assumptions.

    What’s point with Gail? Like your not unknown for “sterotyping”. Your whole generation developed sterotyping people.

  33. concerned@westpalmbeach Says:

    I guess law school didn’t require you to take English. Emily Dickinson is a name and should be capitalized. How do you go from being 37 yrs old to being a shooter in Dallas in 1963? I guess you can’t do math either; or keep your lies straight.

  34. Unreal Says:

    @Financial Attorney

    Haha you are in full attack mode today.

    I have to agree that Firemen deserve to be paid for putting their lives on the line. Even if they are saving kittens from a tree 90% of the time, the 10% they go into a fire and save a person’s life is invaluable.

    However there are a bunch of bureaucratic paper pushers out there who could stand to make a lot less or not even work at all.

    And as for the social security and benefits for the elderly. Means Testing. If the elderly population didn’t control so much of the vote, it would have been passed years ago. Lower the pay in rates, and cut out payment to people who don’t need it. Call Social Security what it is, a Tax.

  35. concerned@westpalmbeach Says:

    Actually, I think the Government needs to remove the cap on wages for social security deductions.

  36. Financial Attorney Says:


    no, set-up, still playing out, punch coming soon.

    I build on your assuption. Sense you had a incorrect assumption already, why not accuse me of other foolish assumption, ie, being JFK’s 2nd shooter.

    That’s all you doing making foolish assumptions, and thats the point, you making foolish assumptions.

    No Magic foollyoo!

  37. Unreal Says:


    Why would we need to raise the limite of wages for social security? The people who are collecting social security now, did not put in nearly enough to cover their current withdrawals.

    Your contention is that people who work now, should pay more into a system so people who are collecting now, can make more than what they put in. Should a retiree on a pension with investments in the market still be receiving social security that is in excess of their contribution?

    The rest of the generations don’t agree with that.

  38. Financial Attorney Says:


    Having good time.

    Attack mode you don’t see, by time you know it’s done.

    Advertising not helpful in attack mode.

    Yea, Social Security is a TAX, no disagreement there.

    I doubt 1 firefighter has real problem with 5% to there retirement plans. Going from a Qualified Retirement Plan onto a 401K style plan is something completely different and no, I don’t agree on that.

    That’s attempt to re-write federal law on retirement plans as whole.

  39. mustlovedawgs Says:

    @ financial Attorney in your response to me you completely undercut the principles that our nation was founded upon. Am I wrong or do we live in a representative democracy where the citizenry of the state elects local officials who they think will represent their policy aspirations the best. Mike Haridopolos along with all of our other elected officials are intelligent well meaning individuals who are extremely capable of diligently assessing the needs of our state’s economy and meeting those needs utilizing the core values they were elected on. I’m sure that Mike Haridopolos’ masters degree and his collegiate teaching career fully prepared him to make educated decisions about whether or not we need to let unions steal our future.

  40. Financial Attorney Says:


    Your last post highlights the baby boomer mistakes more.

    S.S. my father paid over $75,000 into SS before he died, without collecting SS.

    Now I’m paying into SS, at time I retire SS not projected to be soluent.

    Someone today is living off my father’s SS he didn’t even get to collect, and now my SS that won’t be around by time I collect.

    That same someone today, couldn’t make it though high school, then is trying to tell me by a high school drop out, that there mistakes for retirement are on my shoulds.

    You on SS, once you hit what you paid in that’s it for you. It other peoples money after that, that you didn’t make.

    2 generation on my family paid over $100,000 that went to another Baby Boomer that couldn’t paid there fair share.

    That solves our country’s problems.

    No Thanks BABY BOOMERS, start digging on the side of roads.


  41. Unreal Says:


    So by the same token then you must agree with the passage of the HealthCare Bill. You must agree with the rampant deficit spending also, as those decisions are made by our elected representatives. How about amnesty for illegal aliens?

  42. BM Says:

    I am offended, offended I say! Who is taking your retirement away? Pay a little like everyone else. You may do great work but your greed in wanting those who work at the local burger place or Wal Mart to help pay for your retirement is a joke. So take your commercial and stick it.

  43. Financial Attorney Says:


    No, we live in a democracy, no on e questioned that but you. I sure didn’t.

    What I say was Mike Hardiopolo has a worthless history degree, and no Mike Hardiopolo does not hold a education that merits understanding of complex issues. Mike’s understanding of history is even questionable, that’s how uneducated he is.

    You want to election a uneducated person as Mike Hardiopolo, that’s your business.

    Rarely do I give someone funds that has little too, no understanding of finance or economics. Maybe you agree with Mike Hardiopolo claims he understands even being he has no documented education besides a history degree.

    But I, who hold Master’s Degree, don’t believe con-artists as Mike Hardiopolo claiming he can make 2 cents = 8 cents with no documented education or further explaination.

    You’re more than welcome to give all your money to con-artists as Mike Hardiopolo. You sure are not doing that with my money however! I can fight Mike Hardiopolo and do.

    Also part of a “DEMOCRACY” for someone with a Law License.

    Big Difference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. Firedawg Says:

    I’m a retired military firefighter. You have NO idea what you’re talking about and your ignorant rantings are an affront! Firefighter’s are trained to work as a team in a safe manner. Joe blow off the street who tries to rescue someone from a burning building, without protective equipment, is going to end up dead. In addition, the physical toll on someone who wears 80 lbs of equipment and strains their body past safe limits takes it’s toll. Every time a firefighter puts on that gear and hauls hoses in/people out they raise their body temperature to a point where brain cells start dying. I am 44 and have extensive arthritis from the wear and tear on my joints. Granted, I never got payed more than the normal military pay. And I got payed for a 72 hour work week the same amount as the 40 hour work week people on the base. $150,000 seems like a lot to me. I would hazard a guess that figure is the salary for a chief, one person. Not every firefighter. Get your facts straight!

  45. Katie Says:

    My Husband is a Fireman/Paramedic. He gets paid 54,000 a year not 150,000. He gets blood and vomited on daily. They do alot more than pull people out of car accidents and fires. Maybe next time you really need help you guys can start your own IVS and shock your own heart back to life. He also has not had a pay raise for 5 years but continues to educate himself further in the medical side AGAIN TO HELP SAVE YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONES LIFE. Did I mention he is up all night because everyone waits until 3 in the morning to call for a stomach ache. Do your homework people we are having a hard time just like everyone else and these cuts will hurt alot of familys.

  46. Johno Says:

    The ad is a lie! How can they say they are taking a cut, when it is being put into their pension fund? They’ll get it back later. The private sector uses part of their income to fund their IRA or some kind of retirement plan. I guess the firefighters and other public servants are above participating and just too greedy. Check out the fancy vehicles they drive behind the station sometime! Go Scott!

  47. Here we go Says:

    While I respect Firefighters, and will continue to do so. They are grossly overpaid and it’s about damned time they start putting a little in the savings piggy.

    I have a neighbor who gets paid $100k+ and he is riding free in his house and letting it foreclose and taking a free meal ticket while living there paying nothing and he can FULLY afford his $800 mortgage. If this is the way Firefighters do things by not contributing to their own neighborhoods OUTSIDE of what they get paid for, I hope Scott comes out guns blazing.

  48. Katie Says:

    Who gets 100,000 a year you guys are all wrong. Some firefighters are getting 24,000 to 34,000 if they are not Medics.If you dont know what you are talking about stay off the blogs. In response to here we go just because your friend does not pay his mortgage does not mean all firefighters are acting that way.everyone is walking away from their homes that is why we are in the mess we are in. They pay the pension to make up for the pay. Lets see go get shot at puked on bled on and oh by the way take 30,000 a year.

  49. Mike Says:

    I don’t know where these 6 figure salary’s are coming from, but I don’t even make close to half of that, after 7 years and a promotion.
    We also do not get overtime until we are on duty for 53 hours in a week.
    I will probably never even see $75K after 25 yrs.
    The state guaranteed me the retirement that I have, we all deal with going 2-3-4 years without raises at times, knowing that we at least have a good retirement.
    We used to have decent health insurance, now we must pay the first 3K of ANY medical care, and first $1500 of meds.
    We are giving up things to help. I will keep doing my job without fail. thank you for your time.
    Please don’t mess with the FRS.
    You should ask why the the state skimmed money from the FRS in years past and allowed local governments to skip payments for years. There is more to this than you would think. The FRS is very healthy, don’t believe what the Governor says.
    He bilked the Government in the largest Medicare fraud scandal in US history but he won’t talk about it. Why?
    Be safe.

  50. Firefighter Says:

    No firefighter I know (other than a fire chief) makes more than about 55K.
    Before comments are made there are a few things that firefighters have to do for that pay.
    1. We DO NOT get overtime after 40 hrs like most people. We must past 54 before any overtime is paid. If you are a state forestry firefighter, no overtime is given any extra time must be paid back in forced time off without pay. We DO NOT get guaranteed breaks or lunches that is federally required for most jobs.

    2. Firefighters (most are EMT’s or Paramedics) MUST take continuing education to keep their licences. This is taken off duty and most of it is paid out of pocket.

    3. The insurance that most agencies offer is on par with Wal-Mart (my wife works there and our policy is the same). Because of our profession getting any insurance after retirement is nearly impossible.

    4. The FRS (Florida Retirement System) is fully funded (it had about 4 billion is profits in 2010) and is projected to be less than 3% of the state budget (its about that now) for the entire projected future.

    5. According to the FRS the average pension for a normal risk person (teachers, road workers, etc.) is 10K per year. The average high risk person (firefighters, police, EMT) makes 30K. The state representatives do not want to push the “vesting” time beyond 8 years because they put themselves into the program.

    Much has been made of the idea of making the program a 401K style. The groups that are pushing for that are the ones that stand to make billions every year on the fees they can make. This has been shown to be even more expensive than the program we have now. Also these groups are the same ones that made money while creating the recession!

    What Scott and the state representatives do not tell you about the pension is that they have been taking money from the program. In the last 13 years they have taken 13 billion. This is why those of us in the fire service say it is a pay cut. The money we would pay in gets taken away when the state takes away the money. Anytime they need to pay for a tax cut for the same groups that sent jobs out of the country it came from the pension.
    Like most states Florida has not paid into the program what they agreed to. Luckily the program has paid out very little made good investments and did not need the money. States like Wisconsin and New Jersey are not so lucky and are facing the problem of making a payment that covers their back payments and the interest it should have made.

  51. Alledgely Rich Says:

    Where’s all these $150K firefighting jobs? I grossed 1/3 of that last year. I love how people like to throw in the “pay & benefits” part to juice up the number in an attempt to mislead folks about the actual pay. While you’re at it why not throw in the free uniforms and firefighting equipment as pay too. When someone asks what you make, usually most folks reply with their hourly rate or monthly take home ($11 and change per hour, and around 2200 ish per month take-home) yeah I’m filthy rich.

  52. Alledgely Rich Says:

    A little background on FRS.
    In 1974 the stopped requiring employee contribution because if a paying member didn’t “vest” and left their job, they took all their contributed monies with them. A sizable percentage don’t vest so there was a constant outflow of money from the fund. The managers of the fund stopped requiring contributions to make it more sound financially. Obviously it worked, it’s one of the best in the nation.

  53. FSFSA S-20 Says:

    For the record I am a state firefighter…meaning I work for the state and fight fires…. I brought home $21k last year so you folks keep believing the lies the republicans are telling you…. and Ill drive a little slower when I come… the HIGHEST paid firefighter that works for the state brings in $38k before taxes…. And most of the numbers you guys are throwing around aren’t the firefighters…. its the chiefs and higher echelon of the fire departments….

  54. FSFSA S-20 Says:

    And by the way when these so called politicians pass everything I will then be able to collect food stamps and qualify for other government programs so thanks for that if nothing else

  55. annsage13 Says:

    yes it is true you can save money on your auto insurance by making few simple changes search online for clearance auto insurance you will be surprised

  56. gonzaedger Says:

    Expand your mind and expand your knowledge. There are still jobs out there. Go after a degree in the field of your choice and on demand. Find your field at high speed universities websites to know which are on demand and suitable for you.

  57. Dolphin Says:

    The problem is not the middle class Gov workers (cops, teachers,etc). It is the welfare quenns and their daily indulgenses. Multiple baby daddys, breeding retarded children who are a tax burden from cradle to grave.

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