Question lifted from pension rewrite: Scott likesby 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.