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Question lifted from pension rewrite: Scott likes

by John Kennedy | April 30th, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott said Saturday that the Legislature’s move to pull 3 percent pay contributions from 655,000 teachers, firefighters, police and other government workers is a “good first step.”

Scott’s comments, issued in a news release, may signal he’s satisfied with the relatively modest steps the Legislature took on revamping the Florida Retirement System.

 Scott had proposed a far more sweeping plan — including 5 percent contributions and closing the traditional pension to new enrollees, leaving a question mark hanging over the deal agreed to by lawmakers Friday night.

But Saturday, Scott seemed ready to sign the move into law, removing the cloud of a possible veto. Still, Scott also wants more in the future — hinting chiefly at a push to make the FRS more of a 401(k)-styled investment plan, rather than a traditional, defined benefit pension.

“It is my goal to continue to modernize Florida’s retirement system until it is no longer reliant on our state’s taxpayers,” Scott said. “But I’m pleased that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Unions and enrollees in the FRS have opposed Scott and the Legislature’s rework of the pension plan, dismissing it solely as a pay cut. Scott and business groups have tried to cast the change as aimed at shoring-up the plan — but the $1.1 billion drawn from the pension employee payments and other revisions is going straight into the state budget.

Scott is still seeking a $333 million corporate income tax reduction from the Legislature — money that could be made available with the worker payments to FRS, which has been solely taxpayer financed since 1974.

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35 Responses to “Question lifted from pension rewrite: Scott likes”

  1. Scott got most of what he wanted Says:

    Governor Scott effectively eliminated defined benefit pensions by ending the COLA and making the high 5 the high 8. Once you do the math, you will see that new employees should always choose the defined contribution plan (assuming they did not change it), so there really will not be a choice.

  2. LadyMarian Says:

    WHERE ARE THE JOBS, King SCOTT?!?!

  3. A seriously buned state worker Says:

    A 3 percent contribution to our pension works out to be a pay cut to workers who haven’t seen a pay raise in 6 years. People want to complain about the so called benefits state workers are getting, but fail to realize we do this job because others go where the jobs pay more. So I tell you what,I will let you teach the kids, fight the fires, rescue people from auto accidents,prevent crime and babysit criminials and see how much you think it’s worth. Bet you realize we aren’t getting half of what we should be getting and the Governor wants to take that away too. Guess it’s time for all of the public employees to start taking jobs in the private sector!

  4. JR Alhajori Says:

    I’m not a big fan of Rick Scott, however I’m sick and tired of the private sector having to support government employees who wouldn’t last 5 minutes in a non-nurturing corporate position. To “seriously burned state worker”.. what a joke.. as IF you could get and hold a job in the private sector.. I’m so sick of you overpaid cry babies. We in the private sector are not responsible for your lack of ambition and dependence on taxpayers for your “security”.

  5. Robert Heine Says:

    Hey JR, Based on your idiotic comments you should be drug tested more so than state employees because you are definitely hallucegenic. Apparently you have never worked for the public sector if you think they are overpaid. Most of you in the private sector wouldn’t work for the meager salaries paid in the public sector. Now we have a Legislature and a governor that want to give tax breaks and loopholes to major corporations by robbing the middle class workers of this state. By the way, state employees have had no raises for 6 years. Can you say the same?

  6. Engine Co. Says:

    Thank god Rick Scott is a 1 term governor. He is going to be around just long enough to set himself and his wife up for a windfall of Medicaid business that will be run thru his Solantic Clinic chain. So JR, you are sick of supporting goverment workers? We are taxpayers too. You should be more concerned about what private business and corporations are about to do with your tax dollars than those of us educating your kids and answering your panic striken 911 calls in the middle of the night. God help you for being so ignorant!

  7. Wade Says:

    Want to tell my why the sheriffs contribution isn’t changing, but I still get a paycut just to go to work? I’m through with you Rick Scott!

  8. Paramedic Says:

    JR – Lack of ambition? You’re so deluded it’s frightening, and I hope you’re not contributing to the gene pool. So it would appear you work in a cushy office environment, jerking off to child pornography on the company’s dollar while my colleagues and I are pulling the helpless from burning vehicles and running life-saving IVs to elderly patients who shouldn’t have to pay exorbitant fees for basic medical services (thanks Republican’ts!)

    Overpaid?? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA, keep lying to yourself.

  9. Erin Says:

    When people don’t have an argument they name call. Gotta believe it’s someone in a union.

    Support even more cuts to public employees who bleed the taxpayers.

    Let’s go private!

  10. tj Says:

    We are headed for war in this country, just wait and see!! You all are idiots..republicans, dem, ind, teabaggers you all are idiots! No one wants to work together anymore so fu@# all of ya! Our kids are in big trouble because of every single person in the govt.

  11. limpwrist Says:

    Rick Scott has a mob associate in his leadership coalition. Meet Joe Ardolina of American Truck Sales. He’s a former vice president in the now defunct H&W Refuse Service whose president was Anthony Carione, fingered by law enforcement along with his brother Frank Carione, as then active figures in the underworld. Another brother, Joseph Carione, plead guilty to defrauding the government as a co-defendant in a case that involved Colombo crime boss Andrew Russo. bit.ly/edERUe

  12. Send the Chrome Dome to Nome Says:

    I noticed that this “budget crisis” only happened when $cott came into power. Nobody said those two words when either Charlie or Jeb was in office. (I wonder why…)

    If $cott and the legislature want to make state workers pay up 3%, then I say let ‘em. I know it’s a bad idea on the surface, but the move will just make $cott lose what little support he has left, and the measure shouldn’t be hard to challenge in court as a state income tax. (Which is illegal in Florida.)

  13. Good luck finding "private" prosecutors Says:

    JR and Erin are so out of touch with reality it’s laughable. How is this for an “overpaid government worker”? Having just graduated law school (with honors), I immediately sought a job as a prosecutor for Florida because I wanted to do the work putting criminals behind bars. Although the pay started at only 40K and I have loans to repay, the benefits were good enough to make it worth it. See, those benefits are considered part of the compensation when you’re a state employee.

    Prosecutors can’t be “private” under the law. I can’t go be a private attorney if I want to prosecute criminals. Now, for some reason, I am being lambasted for my “lack of ambition” despite putting myself through law school, passing the bar, and immediately becoming employed (I guess, because I didn’t want to work in private criminal defense, despite the larger paycheck).

    If the State of Florida wants to pay me like a private defense attorney, I will be happy to model my retirement and insurance plans after theirs. Until then, let’s understand that state workers are compensated in money and benefits and cutting either is a pay cut, pure and simple. If taxpayers want services (like keeping criminals off the streets, teachers in their schools, and ambulances available when they need them) then we have to pay for them. Why people like JR and Erin believe in getting something for nothing is beyond me.

  14. Is anything going to be done Says:

    To Send the Chrome Dome,
    You are right this is illegal and should be considered a tax and even if they dont call it that it is a breach of contract. How can you possibly be working 15 years thinking you are going to retire with a certain amount of money only to have it changed in the middle of your career. This question of the year is WILL THE UNION FIGHT THIS AS THEY SHOULD? They already sound like they have admitted defeat and are happy with this “modest” change according to Matt Puckett of the PBA ….what a joke.

  15. Walker Says:

    Well here goes 3000 of his 700,000 jobs looks like from Manatee County south will belong to GEO and CCA. But thats ok I hope that everything works out and no one loses there life due to lack of Security. I mean if you ever went to a privately run prison and seen what goes on compared to a state run prison you might think twice about supporting Slick Rick, JD. Alexander, and Mark Harrippolis. I surley hope the people remember this when they vote this next election. Perosnaly I gotta say If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, GOTTA be a DUCK.

  16. Fed Up Says:

    I have worked for the private sector and have been employed in the public sector for the past 10 years. Myself and those I work with give the taxpayers their moneys worth. I have seen very few slackers and they are never with us long. WE PAY TAXES THE SAME AS YOU!

  17. Jo48 Says:

    Tell me I can opt out of ALL retirement plans. What retirement? I am 62 right, have worked for the district 3 years, and make $13/hour. I need this money to live on right now. I will be dead and buried before I can collect any retirement.

    Keep your Pension, Mr. Scott. Give me my WAGES right NOW.

  18. teacher86 Says:

    Taxpayers are paying for a service…people to answer your 911 calls, qualified educators to teach your children, trained professionals to help fight crime, etc. When we go into these fields, we are aware that our salary will be low. However, the job security or retirement (which really isn’t that great to begin with) is what convinces us that we can deal with those ridiculous salaries. We never considered that our pay and benefits would go DOWN as the years of our service go on. Speaking as a fairly new educator, Florida is going to have a really tough time bringing qualified professionals in to work for the state of Florida. We could barely survive on what was being provided to us before…now it’s nearly impossible (especially for those people who have families). I know I will be trying to move elsewhere as will many great educators I know. It’s not enough to be completely disrespected on a daily basis…now what little perks we do get are being slashed which results in a hefty pay cut. GREAT THINKING, FLORIDA!

  19. Alan Says:

    Let’s see, I supervised 500 people when I worked for the state, went to the provate sector where I do not supervise anyone and got a $14,000 raise overnight. Overpaid state employees huh?

  20. Bill Says:

    Wake up people!!! Scott wants to privatize Education, Law Enforcement, etc…… Don’t focus on the unfairness of it, recognize the reason. THis is so that he and his cronies can profit on these areas . Separation of classes at it’s best.

  21. JR Alhajori Says:

    @Good luck finding a Private prosecutor.. LOLOLOL!!! Who the hell are you kidding.. I was a Public Defender for 6 years.. You aren’t doing it to put “bad guys behind bars”.. you’re doing it to develop your skills as a litigator so you can go out and get a job with a private firm when you know what you’re doing.. Yes, I’m an attorney.. I’ve seen public slackers for YEARS.. I’m sick of it.. I’m tired of government employees bitching about their horrible overworking underpaying jobs.. attempting to believe that they are doing this work out of some sort of “moral obligation”.. LOL! If you’re miserable being a public employee LEAVE.. come join the private sector… You Mr. Assistant State Attorney.. most definitely will just as 98% of your colleages do.. I’m an old guy.. but I know finding a legal job in the private sector is near impossible.. frankly finding one in the public sector isn’t easy either.. too many law schools graduating too many people with promises of “big money”.. Before you leave the security of your low paying but secure State Attorney job.. consider carefully that the private sector will NEVER offer you that same security.. I’ve owned my own firm now for 30 years.. I provide my OWN security.. I don’t look to the taxpayers nor anyone else..

  22. Wow! Says:

    Reading these comments, one thing is clear, we certainly are a nation divided. And getting wider everyday.

  23. Selective Income Tax Says:

    While a 3% income tax on public employees is disconcerning, the true insult is taxing the public working class to give tax breaks to big business. And if Ricky has his way corporations won’t pay a dime in taxes. Nor will they bring any jobs to Florida other than a handful of minimum wage positions which Rick will claim as a major success.

  24. joe Says:

    One thing King Scott and the other republican’s that are anti-FRS will get out of this is a minimum of 665,000+ votes for the other guy in 3 years.

    I sure hope he is adding to the 700,000 jobs he said he is going to create those thousands of state employee’s, who are tax payers BTW, that he has or will lay off pretty soon.

  25. Jeanette Castillo Says:

    This is taking money from TAXPAYING state workers and giving it to corporations. It will only hurt the FL economy to take away more purchasing power from working people.

  26. Pat Says:

    Since my 3% contribution is going straight to the Florida budget and not to the retirement fund, I think it’s only fair every public sector worker start writing a check for 3% of their wages and send it to good ole Rick Scott on a monthly basis. He can add that to the Florida Budget also. I pay taxes like everyone else and have already helped balance the budget for the last 4 years by furlough days and no pay raises. It’s the public workers time to pay up. I’ve done my part.

  27. guviner take all scott Says:

    Did all of you struggling police, teachers and firefighters get any benefit from this Sadowski Law which ws designed to help you with down payments and such? I doubt it because the blood suckers that was supposed to make sure you got the benefits give them all to the friends and famlies and the contractors that would geve them big fat kickbacks! Now Governor Scott is stopping these benefits also! He’s going to steal what the other theives missed! lol

    Sadowski Housing Coalition
    Florida’s sky-high unemployment rate means creating jobs must be a top priority for state leaders.

    That argues not only for passing a plan to build and support rail systems during the special legislative session that begins this week. It also calls for lawmakers to renew a commitment to the state’s landmark work-force housing program when they reconvene for their regular session next year.

    At the urging of the Sadowski Housing Coalition — a remarkably broad-based alliance that includes business groups, local governments, growth-management organizations and advocates for the elderly and homeless — lawmakers created the program in 1991.

    They raised the state’s documentary-stamp tax on property purchases by a dime to create a trust fund. They dedicated that fund to state and local initiatives that would spur construction or rehabilitation of homes affordable to Floridians of low and moderate income, and provide down-payment, mortgage or rent assistance to help them stay in their homes.

    Modestly paid workers like teachers and firefighters need affordable places to live in the communities they serve. So do workers in lower-paying service-sector jobs.

    The state program to make this possible benefits those workers and their communities. It also delivers a huge boost to the economy.

    State money dedicated to the program is multiplied by matching federal and private funds. The coalition says every $1 million in state money creates 77 jobs and $7.66 million in economic impact.

    But lawmakers began raiding the trust fund in 2003, and put an annual $243 million cap on spending from it that took effect in 2007. They’ve diverted more than $900 million from the fund for other purposes in recent years.

    Last year alone, lawmakers siphoned $440 million from the fund. The coalition figures that money would have created $3.37 billion in economic activity, 33,880 jobs and more than $2 billion worth of affordable housing.

    Some lawmakers have lamely argued that work-force housing is not important now that the foreclosure crisis has created a glut of homes, and falling real-estate values have made houses more affordable.

    But many of those unsold homes — think of empty McMansions in the distant suburbs — are not exactly ideal for work-force housing. And though the average house is cheaper now, many are still out of reach of modestly paid Floridians unless they get help.

    In fact, the drop in the real-estate market makes a better argument for investing in the program now, while land can be bought or buildings can be rehabilitated more cheaply to boost the stock of work-force housing for years to come. But the money won’t be available if lawmakers keep plundering it. They need to keep their hands off the trust fund.

    Next year is a perfect time for lawmakers to repeal the cap on the fund. Doc-stamp collections aren’t expected to exceed the cap again for several more years. Lawmakers won’t be creating a hole in the budget if they scrap the cap in 2010, but all the dollars will be there in the future when collections rebound.

    Florida House members voted last year to lift the cap, but the Senate balked. Senate President Jeff Atwater, now running to be Florida’s chief financial officer, will be begging for some tough questions on the campaign trail if his chamber stands in the way again.

    Neglecting work-force housing in good times is a mistake. In a recession with double-digit unemployment, it’s nuts

  28. Good luck finding "private" prosecutors Says:

    @JR Alhajori – First, I’m a woman and not a “Mr” but it’s interesting you would jump to that conclusion. Second, I’m sorry that your own life and sense of purpose is so bleak that you cannot, for a moment, imagine that anyone else might do a job for any reason other than the reason you did yours – but not all of us wallow in such cynicism. You might want to work on those reading comprehension skills – I never said I was “miserable”. Far from it – I love the work that I do. It’s the reason I don’t want the Governor to make it impossible for me, and others like me, to continue to do it. Maybe criminal defense attorneys have to tell themselves that we’re all just in it for the money to make themselves feel better (and maybe there are some prosecutors who use the job as a stepping stone) but some of us still do have motives other than greed.

    Additionally, I think that characterizing my income as “looking to the taxpayers” might be the most laughably idiotic thing I’ve read in a month – and I have to try to decipher witness statements. I provide a service for the State and the State pays me. Are you suggesting the State no longer prosecute crimes? That the State no longer answer 911 calls or teach children so that the employees need not “look to the taxpayers for security”? Do you look to your clients to “subsidize” your retirement and benefits when you represent them in court? How about you abstain for using the roads and traffic lights for the next month and rely on yourself to get around, rather than look to the rest of us taxpayers to subsidize your travel.

    Things cost money. Services cost money. Stop asking for something while demanding you pay nothing in return. It’s childish.

  29. Bonnie Helms Says:

    I assure you I can do your job and I am positive that you CAN’T do mine. I would love to see you try except that you would hurt my students.

  30. Johnny Lightning Says:

    It should have been noted that Florida is the last state in entire the country that still pays 100% of a state government worker’s guaranteed retirement.

    And the, “$1.1 billion drawn from the pension employee payments and other revisions is going straight into the state budget,” should be no surprise.

    Of course it’s going back into the state budget. That’s where it came from. Whether it’s from the front pocket or the back pocket, it’s still the taxpayer’s money.

    A fiscally responsible decision has been made that to provide necessary government services and balance the budget, worker’s will need to chip in 3% for THEIR OWN RETIREMENT.

    Oh, and privileged government workers are far from being the “working class.” They are now the Governing Class.

    They should be true public servants, stop their whining and start serving the public, instead of always trying to govern.

  31. JupiterGuy Says:

    What cost of living allowance are they talking about? No pay raises for over four years, and now state employees get a pay cut. Yep, thats going to get people re-elected…NOT. Thank you skeletor for switching me from a republican to a democrat.

  32. JR Alhajori Says:

    @Good luck finding private prosecutor..
    Grow up… get honest with yourself.. You’ve been a lawyer for 5 minutes… you know less than nothing.. you KNEW you had those student loans to repay when you went to work for 40K.. a salary by the way MANY state employees would like to have. You took out these loans to “put criminals behind bars?” My aren’t you a lofty do-gooder? I don’t need to make myself “feel better” about being a defense attorney I believe in what I do… protecting the public from overzealous prosecutors looking to “put people behind bars”.. I have no problem with you being a prosector and never went down the road… someone has to prosecute.. Typically, however, you come across as the angry young lawyer.. who’s going to clean up the streets and get even with everyone who took her lunch money as a kid.. GOD.. you’re SOOOO young.. and have SOOO much to learn. Maybe your kids if you have them already or if you want them or when you have them.. will know better than to take out a ton of student loans and then go to work for a low salary and complain about it.. like I said.. GROW UP.. I was a Public Defender as I mentioned.. as I woud never consider prosecuting.. even if it were the LAST job on earth.. and I developed good skills that helped be extremely successful in the private sector.. Do you want me to apologize for being paid well to do a good job.. ? Do you want me and others who do well to support you because you made a poor decision.. and if your HAPPY with your job as you say you are.. then quit complaining.. that’s what prosecutors make.. it’s a low paying job.. always has been and always will be.. that doesn’t mean we have to pay your retirement.. tax dollars going to run a State Atty’s office is one thing.. tax dollars to pay for your retirement is quite another.. BTW.. if you really ever do become committed to staying a prosecutor.. (you know that 1 percent who actually do).. you’ll find respectable salaries as you work your way up the food chain.. I have friends who made a career out of the Public Defender’s office both state and federal..and they make good money and have excellent benefits… but why in the world should we be paying you more than $40,000 when 98-99percent of you are “outta there” in a year or two? More importantly..why shouldn’t you contribute to YOUR OWN retirement plan like the rest of the states do.. and all in the private sector? Sorry if you have “buyers remorse” at taking out all those loans for law school.. but hey.. your a grown up.. kind of.

  33. JR Alhajori Says:

    @Johnny Lightening.. GREAT POINTS.. Why do I feel that everytime I hear those words “public servant”.. I feel as thoug I’m expected to serve THEM!

  34. Good luck finding "private" prosecutors Says:

    I am young – well, I’m sure in comparison to some. That might be the one accurate thing you’ve ascertained from anything I’ve written, but that’s OK. I think any objective reader of our communication can see pretty clearly which of us is actually the “angry” one. Honestly, I almost feel bad for you. I don’t think it has to do with your job – it’s who you are. It’s this political thing. You have so much hatred and vitriol for someone you’ve never met. You are unable to carry on a conversation with someone who has a different opinion than you. You are apparently a middle age man and cannot stop the constant attempts to belittle and insult a younger woman who is a total stranger to you. You are a trained attorney – supposedly an educated man. It’s pathetic.

    I’m sorry if you think that working to put child molesters, animal abusers, and drunk drivers behind bars makes me some kind of revenge-driven mental case. You’ve dedicated your life to keeping them on the streets and I’d like to keep them away from the general public. You’re right – clearly I need therapy.

    It is stunning to me that you seem to have such a low level of reading comprehension, and I can only conclude that you are being intentionally obtuse so I’m not going to go into my entire explanation again. The short version is (if it helps at all): the retirement and benefits plan offered by the State IS PART OF OUR COMPENSATION PACKAGE. It is why the job doesn’t pay very much when compared to other attorney jobs and why we take the salary. Nobody is complaining about it – we’re complaining about cutting it. We are complaining about a REDUCTION in our compensation.

    Now that we’re talking in circles, I’m officially done with this conversation. Keep ranting if you like – I’m checking out. Old men talking about kids taking my “lunch money” (which never actually happened, but is still creepy to hear you imagine) and telling me to “grow up” because I have an ethical code is not exactly the height of intellectually stimulating conversation.

    Don’t worry about taking a job as a prosecutor if it were “the last job on earth”. Clearly nobody is inviting you to the law enforcement side of the aisle.

  35. Public VS Private doesn't matter Says:

    First, let me say that I worked 10 years in the private sector and 10 years in the pubic sector.

    What you are are all missing is that whether it is Public or Private sector workers, when you are hired for the job, your salary and benefits are agreed upon. Five, eight, ten years later, you along with the entire country are enduring economic hardships and no raises for 4+ years. You come into work as usual and your employer tells you that you will now be taking home 3% less every paycheck. That’s anywhere from $75 to $150+ per month for your avarage $30,000 to $60,000 per year employee.

    In these times, citizens, whether public or private workers, cannot afford that. Then, just to rub your nose in it, your employer then tells you that it’s going give huge discounts (tax breaks) to Corporate “customers” only.

    If The State of Florida left FRS and Corporate State Taxes just the way they were, or increased Corporate Taxes slightly, one would balance the other out. How about bringing your own water to work. The State and local Governments that supply Zephry Hills and the like should end that practice for a huge cost savings. Think of the cost savings with reduction of paper trails and seriously implementing/requiring electronic documents. The State could save millions on paper purchases.

    Cut the spending where it can be afforded which is not from my pocket. This will change my monthly income so drastically that I will have more monthly debt than income. Credit Card companies have change fixed rates to adjustable and double the percent rate they charge. Every purchase (cash or credit) I make at the grocery store, gas pump, etc., costs more than it did last year, let alone 5 years ago which is what my monthly income will effectively be set back to.

    The State doesn’t want to cut spending where it should, in items purchased or programs created, it takes the easy way and does it where it will hurt THEIR interests the least.

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