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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  • by Mike on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM
    of course the Florida pension fund is in trouble and will no longer be able to meet its obligation to retires, at the rate Gov. Scott is going there will be no one left to pay into it.
  • by Taxpayer/Citizen Location: Tally on Feb 21, 2011 at 07:31 AM
    The "Let's get to work" myth will backfire. With retirement pensions, health, death benefits slashed or abolished and massive job loss, less disposable income will be pumped back into Florida's economy. The small and big businesses will suffer with fewer customers to buy their goods and services. Families will "do without" and not spend what little money is left like they did during the Great Depression of the 1930s, (Depression lasted 15 years until World War II, people were put back to work building airplanes for US Military). History repeats here. Pray that the Florida Senate and House can work sucessfully with Governor Scott to strike a healthy budget, not to just appease the Tea party movement; An offensive move of Gov. Scott when he released his budget for the Tea Party (Discimination from the start) in Eustis. We though he became The Peoples' Governor, but apparently not. Florida deserves the time and attention necessary to make whole and complete for the Good of All Her People.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 21, 2011 at 07:16 AM
    Sick, the health insurance premium would be a total 9100 per year, not in addition to the 2160. Still a raw deal though. Balancing the budget on the backs of the small number of state employees is not fair at all.
  • by Paulk Location: Tally on Feb 20, 2011 at 07:26 PM
    The only voice speaking is our unions. Join and be part of the solution.Otherwise Chamber of Commerce and Assoc. industry will own the castle and we will be the peasants bent on careing for them.Peasant wages as well.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 20, 2011 at 09:55 AM
    We've not seen nothing yet from the fallout of Scott's 2 yr spending cuts: 15K State Jobs,hundreds of teachers, private sector state contracted jobs GONE; killing new job creation for private construction, by rejecting high speed rail & road projects offered by Feds from Fed tax money that we have paid to IRS. It's a shame Florida AHCA, Board of Nursing Home Admin., Attorney General, whoever in charge could not sucessfully prosecute Scott for stealing billions from FL taxpayers for Medicaid Fraud; that was OUR Medicaid dollars, money we desprately need for our children and helpless citizens. Scott used dirty money (billions he stole from us) and spent 73 mil. to buy him the Election. Thank you Bill McCollum for not endorsing him, that spoke volumes. Take lessons from the good ole boys of GA;they prosecuted Archibold Hosp CEO for Medicaid fraud. He sits in jail today. Attorney Gen. Bondi, "Prosecute the crooks who steal from Floridians so we will never be in this mess again."
  • by tom Location: meridian on Feb 20, 2011 at 12:57 AM
    The 5% cut is not a tax. It's not a revenue enhancement. It is a expenditure reduction and negative pay raise. Unlike before 1976, employees won't be able to receive their 'contributions,' unless they retire. One of the reasons they stopped employee contributions was that folks leaving and taking their money presented a threat to solvency. Now it will be just a contribution to lower corporate taxes. Along with the cuts in education, public safety and environmental protection Florida will attract all those interested in slack law enforcement and uneducated customers. Florida not just #1 in public corruption but #1 in Pill Mills, the kind of small businees Scott loves.
  • by Suzanna on Feb 19, 2011 at 06:25 PM
    So what happens next year when the powers that be try to balance the budget. Hit the state worker bees again with another cut, the next year another cut and by the end of Scott's 4th year he will have the state jobs privatized. Will give contract to one of his corporate buddies. All you in favor of making the state employees take the burden of balancing the budget, just wait as this will trickle downhill and affect you too.
  • by fed up Location: florida on Feb 19, 2011 at 05:32 PM
    Pleae get rid of the supervisors that are plain lazy. They want a oay check late for lunch on annual leave every month and just do not work. These people worker hard at looking like they are working, take credit for their employees work. Get a question ask their employees then pretend to know something. Scott should set up an e-mail where state employees can vent to him about supervisor that do no work.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 19, 2011 at 04:36 PM
    This is not a pension tax. State employees used to pay into their retirements until 1976, so this is not something new. They are paying into a retirement fund for themselves in order to buy and annuity when they retire. The state contribute likewise. Is it a reduction in take home income? Yes but it is not a tax.
  • by BULL Location: FLORIDA on Feb 19, 2011 at 04:13 PM
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