Florida Pension Reform?

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallhassee, FL - From the blackboard...

"It is something that dates back to the early 1800s..."

From the halls of justice to the halls of power, Florida has more than a million public sector employees. And almost all of them are enrolled in a pension plan paid for entirely by you, the taxpayer.

Legislative leaders, along with governor Rick Scott, call the plan unsustainable given our budget problems. Which means reeform could be on the horizon.

"They're reforming something that's not broken!"

Today (1-10) the Florida AFL-CIO shot back. Ray Edmondson feels Florida's pension fund is one of the strongest in the nation.

Edmondson, FL Public Pension Trustees Association, says, "Defined benefit pension systems in the state of Florida are the most regulated, the most highly-funded; they have the most highly-regulated and the most educated trustees. You are one of the shining stars."

Still, top republicans contend it's time for government to follow the private sector's lead and require workers to contribute to their own pensions...A lot like a 401-K.

"Government is about serving the people, not the providers!"

Dominic Calabro with Florida Taxwatch helped craft a list of pension reform recommendations governor Scott looks poised to take up.
By requiring more of public employees, Calabro says Florida could save more than a billion dollars a year.

Union officials say there's a big problem with that. Many public sector employees, like teachers, don't make very much money to begin with.
That could make it difficult for them to contribute to their pension.

Before the recession, Florida was one of only four states to have a fully-funded pension program.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by David Location: NPR on Mar 25, 2011 at 11:12 AM
    For over 20 years I have been told I don't want your job, I would not do your job. Then came no raises and financial cut backs no overtime. A shining light at the end of the tunnel has always been well at least I get decent pay and someday a pension. My reward for hanging in there doing a job that most people do not want. All qualified citizens had the same choice and opportunity that I did I signed on they did not. Now the government not only wants to take the light at the end of the tunnel but they want to take the flashlight the batteries and then force me to pay for a new improved flashlight and battery and oh yeah cut my benefits and maybe even make me work longer.Today Rick Scott is picking on the public sector state employees wait let him get away with it and he will jam the private sector citizens next all in the name of fairness and balance. Thank you very much
  • by vexed on Feb 15, 2011 at 05:31 PM
    It makes me laugh that the private sector is complaining about our pensions. Twenty years ago, they would not have touched a public sector job with a ten foot pole. Now that we make a decent salary and have good benefits, it all the sudden isn't fair? Well the state has a contract with all vested F.R.S. members. I hope Tricky Ricky is ready for massive lawsuits!
  • by News Flash! Location: Tallahassee on Jan 16, 2011 at 10:44 AM
    Tallahassee's economy depends on State and educational workers. Prior to getting a State funded job 90% of my income depended on the middle class state employee. Every business in Leon County depends on the expendable income of the State and educational workers. The mere talk of taking away benefits that will lower their income has a negative impact on the community. I am one of the fortunate few that has seen a couple of well earned promotions. Most have had to get jobs in other departments to improve their positions. My last promotion was rewarded with a whopping 5% raise followed by 3 years with no raise. The area I work in has decreased from 5 employees to 2 in the last 14 years. Every position that becomes vacant has to be justified before it can be filled. A few years back they reduced the base pay on most positions by about 7K. To fill a position after getting it justified we have to hire at the lower base. I advise all the Scott supporters to be careful what you wish/vote for.
  • by willie smith Location: alturas on Jan 14, 2011 at 02:36 AM
    State workers also historically have been paid less doing their jobs than one in the private sector. The perk of having a fully funded pension plan is the trade off for lower wages. It is not as if state workers are making out like bandits. Go ahead and have the employees contribute to their retirement funds, but at the same time pay them wages commensurate with the private sector.
  • by Public Sector Employee Location: Florida on Jan 13, 2011 at 06:16 AM
    It's true that as public-sector employees in Florida, 100% of our pensions are paid by the citizens. Why anyone should find this shocking is beyond me, though, considering that the citizens also pay 100% of our salaries. That's kind of how it tends to work when you're employed in government service.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 12, 2011 at 01:30 PM
    disgusted w/ stupidity,you must be very disgusted with yourself if you think that for a state worker to get his pension from revenue streams that everybody pays into is the same as a private sector worker contributing to an IRA or 401K.That means your pension is paid by everybody while the private pays for themselves.How stupid can you be?
  • by Mabogo Location: FL on Jan 12, 2011 at 10:01 AM
    How would you describe an average "Tea Party" member? a. Filled with hate. b. Don't like to read. c. 99% probability of being white. d. Low paying dead end job. e. All of the above.
  • by disgusted w/ stupidity Location: Tallahassee on Jan 12, 2011 at 09:07 AM
    I find it difficult to fathom just how misinformed (for most) or stupid (for some) the average Floridian is when it comes to its state government employees. DISCLAIMER - I have worked for the citizens of Florida for 2 years now, following 10 years of federal service as a US Marine.*** State employees of Florida choose public service not for the paltry salary that we receive (dead last among all state workers), but for the opportunity to serve our fellow citizens. I laugh, so as not to vomit, every time I hear or read some moron claiming that we should have to contribute to our pensions as well. For those of you with this mentality, perhaps you should take time to better educate yourself on the issue. Since Florida has no state income tax, the money comes from revenue streams that ALL citizens, state workers included, contribute to. In case that was too convoluted a statement for your simplistic minds, I will simplify--- WE ALREADY PAY INTO OUR PENSION PLANS THE SAME AS YOU.
  • by Nora Location: FL on Jan 12, 2011 at 07:12 AM
    We will be a 3rd world country owned by China in 20 years anyway.
  • by Quest Location: Everywhere on Jan 11, 2011 at 07:20 PM
    @anon 01/11/11 5:09 - So as a state worker, you have promoted several times, good for you. However, the average state worker are in positions/locations where promotions have not been possible for several years. Positions are advertised and frozen, deleted and the work for that positions is then spread over to others. Speak for yourself as you are not the typical state employee that has not had a raise in years and is expected to do more with less. Question, have you had to bring your own office supplies to work due to budget restraints and office supplies NOT being "mission critical" as that is the current terminology for "not approved for purchase". Do you drive over 10 miles per day to your office? Do you know what the median salary is for the typical state employee? Do you work two jobs just to pay for a below average home, drive a 10 year old vehicle, have sleepless nights worrying if you will be able to make it until payday? Then you are not a typical state employee!
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