Senate FRS plan pulls in $1.1 billion and controversyby John Kennedy | March 31st, 2011
The Senate budget committee approved a tough new rewrite Thursday of the Florida Retirement System that pours $1.1 billion into a proposed $69.8 billion state budget.
But the 13-8 vote doesn’t look like the last word from the Senate.
Even budget chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, hinted that Thursday’s action was not, “where I hope we wind up.”
After weeks of the Senate offering a softer version of a pension overhaul than either of those promoted by the House or Gov. Rick Scott, version unveiled by Alexander imposes a 3 percent contribution rate for 655,000 government employees, puts most new employees into 401(k)-style investment plans, and close the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program to new participants July 1.
The Republican-ruled committee was blasted for more than an hour by more than two-dozen teachers, firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and other union representatives.
“They keep telling us ’we’ve got to suck it up,’” said Sharian Keys, a Port Orange teacher. “But who else is `sucking it up’ in this budget?”