Pension Fund Fight Begins

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Tallahassee, FL - Paul Brewer and his wife both work for the state. After 21 years, he is making about 25 thousand dollars a year. Neither he or his wife will be rich when they retire.

“She’ll be making like 1200 dollars a month,” Brewer said. “Our insurance for the family will probably run 900 dollars a month. So I don’t know how on 10 dollars a day, I guess somehow we’ll survive.”

Proposed changes include ending the defined benefit program and requiring employee contributions. Most employees see it as a pay cut.

This Senate Committee got an earful from firemen…

“We have taken our fair share of salary cuts, benefit cuts,” fireman Omar Blanco said.

…from this Broward county prosecutor.

“I call it what it is. It is a tax,” prosecutor Anita White said.

…and this Tallahassee CPA.

“So I say, take on the hard issue of tax reform and don’t do it on pensioners’ backs,” CPA Michele Ceci said.

Only about half the changes the governor wants are even in the senate bill. That means there is room for a lot of change.

The changes on the table don’t go far enough for this Punta Gorda businessman.

“Support the draconian Governor Scott Bill. Thank you,” Robin Stubbins said.

In the end, lawmakers acknowledged the state pension fund is sound. But some local funds are not. But that won’t stop them from trying to make employees contribute anyway.

“We have a four billion dollar budget hole,” Sen. Jeremy Ring (D-Margate) said.

Committee votes are scheduled for next week.

The state currently pays about ten cents into the pension fund for every dollar it pays in salary. It’s about double that for police, fire and other special risk categories.


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