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Gaetz and Weatherford vow to push pension overall again

by John Kennedy | January 29th, 2014

The Legislature’s top Republican leaders said Wednesday they are committed to making sweeping changes to the state’s pension plan — but are proposing a more nuanced approach than tried earlier.

The move comes even as Gov. Rick Scott, in his $74.2 billion budget proposal, did not renew his previous call for revamping the Florida Retirement System.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said changes are still needed to the plan used by more than 600,000 teachers, police, firefighters and other public employees.

“We have to protect ourselves from the future,” Weatherford said Wednesday at the Associated Press’ annual planning session at the state Capitol.

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, joined Weatherford in saying that the Republican-led Legislature will work toward enacting changes that would shifting new workers joining the statewide pension system into a so-called cash balance pension plan. Both the state and the employee would contribute to the account and some level of retirement benefits would be guaranteed.

Police employees, firefighters and other emergency responders would be exempt from the change, under the Weather and Gaetz concept floated Wednesday. That could blunt some of the toughest opposition that has derailed earlier efforts to rework the FRS.

Lawmakers are worried about the rising cost of the plan, which costs the state more than $500 million a year to finance.

A cash balance approach is being advanced by Republican leaders and is portrayed as a “hybrid” plan. It would meld the best qualities of the state’s traditional pension, which provides set benefits based on salary and years of service, and a 401(k) styled investment plan, also offered within the Florida Retirement System, but subject to stock market volatility.

The Republican-led House last year pushed to force all new hires into the investment plan. But most Republicans in the Senate refused to go along, while union-allied Democrats opposed the concept in both chambers.

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8 Responses to “Gaetz and Weatherford vow to push pension overall again”

  1. Rick Scott is thief Says:

    A page from Mitt Romney’s book – stealing workers pensions.

  2. Repubtallygirl Says:

    @Rick Scott is thief –
    Please get yourself and education. One thing I can’t stand is people like you who are just dumb. You’re lack of any education show’s itself throughout you’re statement. There aren’t to many dumber persons in you’re neighborhood I bet. Do you know FloridaMom by the way? I hear she “walks” your neighborhood each evening.

  3. Sharon Says:

    I don’t know why they feel the need to continue to mess with the FRS. Employees worked at a lower pay for their retirement. If they put all new employees to the investment plan, where does that put the retired employees pension to continue to be paid to them? LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!!

  4. Pearl Harborer Says:

    I can’t decide whether Repubtallygirl is a serious Skeletor-supporter comment or an amusing takeoff on ignorant teabagger prose.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Please get yourself and[sic] education. You’re [sic] lack of any education show’s [sic] itself throughout you’re [sic] statement. There aren’t to [sic] many dumber persons in you’re[sic] neighborhood I bet. Do you know FloridaMom by the way? I hear she “walks” your neighborhood each evening.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nah, must be a gag. Good one.

  5. George Says:

    I don’t understand why of the 600,000 Police, Fire, and other Public Workers any of them would vote for a Republican.

    The reform in 2011 was supposed to “fix the problem” that really didn’t exist and all they did was play a shell game between employer/employee contributions.

  6. Thomas Says:

    Government involvement in state pension systems is why Detroit Police and Fire workers will have nothing left when they retire. Government involvment in pension systems is why the State of Illinois pension systems are going belly up. Florida’s Retirement System was properly run, and as a result, is very strong. Gaetz and Wetherford keep wanting to mess with ther strongest system in america. Why do we put these idiots in office.

  7. Leonard Burry Says:

    Florida’s retirement system is constitutionally REQUIRED to be actuarially sound. As a (now retired) state administrator, I can tell you that it has been the key to building and maintaining talented workers for many years. The “feature” that prevents it from affecting older workers also keeps it from near-time savings. The requirement that it must be adequately funded means that, once the funding is allowed to sink below an acceptable level, it becomes VERY difficult to make up that deficit. DO NOT screw the retirement program up any more!

  8. Rosemarie Jensen Says:

    It isn’t lost on this woman that they are going after the pensions of teachers which is female dominated profession. Notice they aren’t going to touch the male dominated ones. Funny how these white patriarchal men hate the women folk whose only crime was picking a profession that didn’t pay well but promised a retirement while doing work for the social good. Can this state ever wake up and stop electing these knuckledraggers?And why do they hate teachers so much?

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