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City pension plans next target for GOP and biz coalition

by John Kennedy | May 12th, 2011

The business coalition backing Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-ruled Legislature’s drive against public pensions Thursday turned its eye toward next year — saying municipal retirement plans are the next target and that these funds must be shifted into 401 (k)-styled investments.

Lawmakers agreed to take 3 percent out of the paychecks of  655,000 government employees enrolled in the Florida Retirement System, and used the $1.1 billion it generated as a plug for the state’s almost $3.8 billion budget shortfall.

The last time Floridians for Sustainable Pensions surfaced, it was joined by Gov. Rick Scott, was last month prodded legislators to pull money from employees because the retirement system was on troubled ground financially.

Analysts said the FRS could meet about 87 percent of its benefits payout — if all pensioners demanded the money at once. Although financial analysts said this level of funding is not alarming, Scott did all he could to fan fears of a financial meltdown.

But on Thursday, Florida State University economist Randall Holcombe said the FRS is strong.  And putting the $1.1 billion extracted from employees into their retirement plans “is irrelevant to the solvency of the pension scheme.”

Instead, Holcombe and others who spoke on behalf of the business coalition, said lawmakers next year should convert the FRS and the dozens of municipal pension plans around the state into investment funds.

Just as Scott used questions of FRS solvency to push for reform, analysts are again raising doubts about whether city plans will have enough cash for beneficiaries.

“I think the Legislature needs to do that and bring (them) under control,” Holcombe said.

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9 Responses to “City pension plans next target for GOP and biz coalition”

  1. Louie Says:

    Gov Scott suggested that the FRS was in poor shape and a 3% or better, member contribution was needed to keep it solvent.
    But it seems that the FRS is in fine shape and we were lied to.
    The monies here, were in reality a punishment tax on municipal employees.
    He went about this all, in a very duplicitous way.
    His term can’t end soon enough.
    BTW….I’m one lifelong Republican who’ll be voting Independent in the future.

  2. SheliaJoy Says:

    Louie are you surprised that the Fraudster lied. Fl’s pensions are sound and have been sound throughout this crisis. One of the biggest loses we had was when Jeb stirred some investments to Lehman. For the state workers NOT TO HAVE HAD A RAISE IN FIVE years plus get a pay cut of 3% is just too much (and have to take random drug tests quaterly). FL state worker are one of the lowest paid of the 50 states. The people who get the most money from pensions are the legislators and other high paid people.

    The next time people of Florida go vote and let’s make this Fraudster lose by double digits.

  3. no unions Says:

    It is definitely a good start. A 3% contribution is good for a trial. Over time I would like to see that increase and ultimately have all public servants have a 401K to relieve the burden on the taxpayers. At least the ball is in motion.

  4. tallyguy Says:

    As it was established in numerous committee meetings this legislative session, the local pension plan mess was caused by the local governments who now come whining to Tallahassee for a “bail-out” And yes, let’s call it what it is. Fix your own mess!!!

  5. Louie Says:

    Am I surprised ?
    I guess not…as he is a politician.
    And not after the Insurance “Reforms” he was able to recently get through.
    But it is disheartening to see the ferocity of how Scott is punishing everyone except his elite friends.
    What’s in it for them…after we’re all broke ?

  6. Mike Says:

    Scott and his cronies are you using you tea baggers as tools. They convinced you to vote against lower middle class and middle class workers in favor of the rich and the multi-billion dollar corporations. They wrap themselves in the flag and talk about being “patriots” and “Christians” and you fools suck it up.

  7. Unions Want Higher Taxes Says:

    It’s the only way to give relieve to taxpayers. The unions want perks (take home cars, grocery shopping while being paid) and benefits (massages 2X a month) while we struggle.

    Unions refuse to negotiate, renegotiate terms.

    And what do Unions want RAISES! MORE BENEFITS; while we struggle to maintain our households, hold on to our jobs, pay for the gas in their county vehicles which they use for personal family errands, pay high food prices.

    We can’t keep it up. They should meet us half way. But for them it’s no way.

  8. Searcher Says:

    You TEA-TARD’s just go make some more VOTERS MAD. These Muni employees have families that VOTE too. See how long you can keep up this game of stealing from the middle class to give to the RICH. I bet it won’t last too much longer

  9. DILLIGAF Says:

    @ Unions want higher taxes

    I know for a fact that 95% of what you said is a lie and you know it is because you have been shown before. You still spout the same ridiculouse lies because you have nothing of substance to criticize the union for. Whatever the union may be both good and bad , you sir are the scum they wipe off the bottom of their shoes!

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