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House OK’s pension overhaul — facing troubled future

by John Kennedy | March 22nd, 2013

After fierce debate Friday between ruling Republicans and union-allied Democrats, the House approves an overhaul of the Florida Retirement System, the pension fund used by more than 620,000 teachers, law enforcement and other public employees.

Breaking along party lines, the House voted 74-42 for the measure (CS/HB 7011), which would close the traditional pension plan to new employees. New hires seeking a retirement account would instead be required to join a defined contribution investment plan beginning Jan. 1.

The legislation is a top priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who maintains that the Florida Retirement System is underfunded and will command increasing millions of dollars from Florida taxpayers to keep it afloat in future years, a stance disputed by many experts.

“It’s fair. It’s fiscally responsible. And it’s time to act,” said Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne.

But Democrats accused House Republicans of using scare tactics to push through a proposal which already has been rejected by fellow Republicans in the Senate.

“You’re using boogyman tactics of how the taxpayers will save money….it’s absolutely false,” said Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach.

Democrats said the legislation is not only unnecessary but potentially dangerous to the $136 billion pension fund, which is used by more than 623,000 state and local government workers and another 335,000 retirees.

The FRS is considered 87 percent funded, with most analysts acknowledging that 80 percent is the benchmark for a fund considered to be on solid financial footing.

Republican leaders, however, say that unfunded actuarial liability is $19.2 billion — a level they say is alarming. Still, those defending the fund say the shortfall exists only if every pensioner demanded their full payments at once, which analysts say would never happen.

 

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11 Responses to “House OK’s pension overhaul — facing troubled future”

  1. Fedup Says:

    Here’s the nail in the re-election coffin of the worst Governor in Florida history…good-by Scott. You and your Repub buddies will be remembered by all those you have screwed and come election time will be voted out big time. State, County workers, teachers, cops, fire and emt and others will remember all your shady actions. You are a disgrace. We will do everything possible to make your stay as Governor s one term deal…LOSER.

  2. Roger Says:

    Does this mean that the House will fall under the same requirements and the rest of the state workers?

    Probably not.

  3. realistic Says:

    Governor Scott…….does the name Bob Martinez mean anything to you? He was an under qualified , over reaching buffoon just like you. Oh, and these state congressional members that have been equally as arrogant better not order any new office furniture either.

  4. Thomas Says:

    This is just another example of republican arrogance, Before voting on this bill it was sent to financial consultants for imput, and they advised against it. The Republicans essentially said we don’t care what the consequences are, we want this bill to happen. Another prime example of republicans sticking it to the average worker, while freeing up funds for corporate tax breaks, See you boys in ’14.

  5. Miranda Quo Says:

    Definitely a few nails in the coffin for Skeletor! Time to get him and all his Repugnant buddies out of there. The rules should apply to them as well, since they are State employees too. And there was never a need to overhaul the plan to start with. They would just rather everyonr else but them work for pennies. Out with the whole damn lot of them!

  6. Bill Says:

    REMEMBER these party hacks at election time. Start a grass roots campaign to vote these people out!!!

  7. Kevin Says:

    As our ageing public sector workers leave the work force and begin drawing their retirement, new public employees will contribute to a 401K type of plan instead. This is a completely thought out republican scheme designed to put an end the existing tax payer funded pension plan at some point in the not too distant future. Since I’m not directly affected by this I’m not concerned about it and that’s exactly what republican law makers are counting on. It’s very telling to watch these republican dominated state governments operate and view their actions in the context of a microcosm in how they would run the federal government if granted the same level of unfettered power they posses in some of these red states. Today it’s the Florida state public workers pension, tomorrow it will be Medicare, Medicaid, SSI, food stamps, section 8 housing and anything else they can eliminate to reduce taxes. I would like to see the results of a study outlining what has happened during periods of total republican domination in state governments. It would be interesting to see how working families and the poor have been effected by republican polices verses the wealthy and powerful interests in these states. Republicans have not made a secret of their intentions, but the way they spin who actually benefits from implementation of their policies while denying the pain and suffering they cause their less fortunate constituents is completely dishonest and misleading.

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