Ring: State workers not the enemyby John Kennedy | March 10th, 2011
A key Florida Senate panel eased back Thursday on proposed changes to the state pension plan used by 655,000 teachers and government workers, setting the stage for a likely clash with the House and Gov. Rick Scott.
In a 12-1 vote, the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee agreed to exempt Florida Retirement System members earning less than $40,000 from contributing to their pensions. Those whose salaries top that would pay 2 percent of their paychecks up to $75,000, when the contribution rate would jump to 4 percent.
Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, sponsor of the measure and the committe chairman, said the new contributions could raise hundreds of millions of dollars.
But the Senate plan is certain to fall far short of the $1.3 billion Scott and the House are seeking to pull into the recession ravaged budget by making all FRS employees contribute 5 percent of their salaries.
“We tried our hardest and our best not to demonize state workers,” Ring said. “This committee does not believe state workers are the enemy.”