Florida Legislators Propose New Pension Bill

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By: Bailey Myers
February 12th, 2014

Tallahassee FL- If last year was any indicator-- pension plans for the State of Florida will be a hot topic again this Legislative session. There are however, some changes to a Bill reforming pensions this year.

Wednesday, The Florida House State Affairs Committee listened as a proposed pension bill was introduced.

Backed by House Speaker Will Weatherford, and Senate President Don Gaetz, this new bill, SPB 7046, is expected to bring up some of the similar debates as last years pension proposals.

One bus driver from Orlando, Christine Saint Louis, attended the meeting and is worried what this might mean for her and her pension , "It seems like they want to make changes and fix something that isn't broken."

One of those changes would automatically enroll any state employee after July 1st of 2015 into the cash balance plan to start.

"For the cash balance plan here...There are very interesting issues," said the proposed pension presenter.

instead of guaranteeing a pension for life based on employees earnings-- which is the current pension plan in place-- the cash balance plan would determine payments based on how much money was in an employee's account at the time of their retirement.

Some are hesitant to accept the proposal. "Looking at this first proposal, I don't think that this is something the state of Florida should be looking at doing," said Representative Dwayne Taylor of District 26.

The other big change, law enforcement and firefighters would still be able to opt into the traditional pension plan.

If SPB 7046 is approved, state employees will automatically be enrolled into the cash balance plan. If they don't tell the state they want to stay in that plan within eight months-- they'll be switched to an investment style plan.

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