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Senate pension plan drawing some union fans

by John Kennedy | March 28th, 2013

Although most Democrats remain opposed, unions came around Thursday to support the Senate’s plan to revamp the Florida Retirement System — a milder version of the overhaul pushed by House Speaker Will Weatherford and fellow Republicans in that chamber.

The Senate plan (CS/SB 1392) cleared the Appropriations Committee 13-5, with Sen. Jeremy Ring of Margate the lone Democrat joining with the Republican majority.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, is aimed at encouraging teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officials and others public employees to abandon the traditional pension plan in favor of an investment retirement plan.

But the only workers required to join the 401(k)-styled plan would be new hires in senior management categories, a smaller slice which includes mostly higher-paid employees.

Matt Puckett, lobbyist for the Florida Police Benevolent Association, endorsed the proposal — saying the legislation would “get pensions out of the headlines.”

“We will no longer have guaranteed pensions to people who will get $100,000 or more in salaries,” Puckett said.

The $136 billion Florida Retirement System has more than 620,000 active members. The House is looking to have all new employees join the investment plan.

The House requirement would still affect those currently in the traditional pension, analysts have said. Investment strategies will change, analysts note, as the defined benefit pension caters increasingly to an older, smaller workforce.

House Democrats and unions have locked in opposition to Weatherford’s approach.

But with Ring and several union representatives supporting the Senate version, it appears some critics of the House proposal are looking to strengthen Simpson’s hand for looming end-of-session dealmaking between the two chambers.



8 Responses to “Senate pension plan drawing some union fans”

  1. Unbelievable Says:

    Why cant the unions see the writing on the wall… there will be pension reform… and their best plan of attack is to get their Democrat friends in the legislature supporting the Senate Plan which retains the ability of their members to go into a Defined Benefit plan…

    Absent support for one or the other, the decision will essentially be left up to negotiations between Republicans in the House and Republicans in the Senate… and for their benefit, that is not necessarily good… but supporting one plan over the other could sway the negotiations…

    Wake up union people… while I understand you don’t want to come across as endorsing either of these, there is a clear benefit of one over the other.

  2. Williamst Says:

    I am so tired of all the hypocrisy, they say that they are trying to fix the pension plan. That’s bull, its one of the healthiest in the nation. Its just another fund for the republican puppets to raid and give to wall street as corporate welfare. Meanwhile the masses cheer it on because perish the thought of a teacher or a copy making on average a 34,000 pension after 30 years of public service, that is way too much. So lets just lower the standards for everyone, because miserly loves company, and the rich got to stick together.

  3. Jupiter Guy Says:

    The investment system is dangerous. Just take a look at what happened to all of the 401K plans with Bush allowed the housing market to flush itself down the toilet.

  4. 6 digits Says:

    The cops and Fire fighters have 6 digit salaries. Let’s make sure they are INcluded in the 401K, not just other 6 digit salaried ‘management’.

    The public is being raped by cops and firefighters who have take home vehicles, pay less in gas than the public pays at public gas stations, get preferential treatment when they violate traffic laws (no citations, like the rest of the public).

    We do not need to create another super class of workers who penalize the public.

    Do your job and don’t expect the world from taxpayers. If you whine so consistently about what you do, find another occupation.

    Yes, cops should receive additional monies because they see daily, the worst side of society, but stop draining the public with the need and greed of your group. And police your own. They violate the laws and get away with it.

  5. Gene Says:

    Changing the system to all 401k is a mistake. They should at least look at having smaller striucture pension for all and include a 401k
    As an additional way to increase their retirement. This way the people will not be stuck if their is a huge pension system if problems come to pass like Illinois. Secondly , pensions are gone from everyone else which will cause tragic retirement where government
    Services wil be overrun with people only living off social security.
    401k is part of the long term solution. 50/50 solution for government and counties would be a better result for all

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