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Retirement Plan for Florida's State Workers Up for Debate at Capitol [UPDATED]

By: Mike Springer Email
By: Mike Springer Email

Associated Press Release

March 23, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida House has passed a bill that would end traditional pensions for new state and county employees and teachers.

The bill (HB 7011) was approved 74-42 on Friday. It does away with guaranteed pensions for workers hired as of January 2014. The measure replaces pensions with individual investment accounts similar to 401(k) plans. It's been a priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford.

The measure does grandfather current employees into the existing pension plan. It also retains payments for disability and death benefits for survivors.

House records show 73 members are currently in the traditional pension plan. Thirty-seven are in the 401(k)-style plan and 10 are not enrolled.

Democrats and labor unions oppose the bill while Republicans and business groups support the measure.

The bill goes to the Senate.


By: Mike Springer
March 14, 2013

Tallahassee, FL-In a unanimous 8 to 0 vote, Senate Bill 1392 passed Governmental Oversight and Accountability committee. The bill, along with House Bill 7011 are looking to change the way retirement plans are handled for Florida's state workers.

"Emergency workers who've never previously participated in the state retirement system would seemingly have a choice between the pension plan and the investment plan," said Florida state senator, Wilton Simpson.

The senate bill would offer those state employees who choose a 401(k) retirement plan a slightly bigger portion of their paychecks to keep. They would contribute just 2 percent to the plan while workers who choose the pension plan would give up 3 percent.

"It would not overburden taxpayers with its long-term policies to maintain," said Simpson, before the committee.

Gary Rainey is the President of the Florida Professional Firefighters. He says he there's still more changes he'd like to see made to the bill.

"It defaults to the investment plan and we would like to see it default to the pension plan. And as I mentioned during my testimony, we would like a little longer period for employees to be able to weight their decision," said Rainey.

If passed, the Senate bill would take effect, January 1, 2014


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