State Pension Reform

Garneted money for retirement, it’s a thing of the past for most workers, but not state employees. They still get a pension backed by the state, but that promise is in jeopardy.

“We are spending, as the speaker has said, 50 million dollars a year on catching up the retirement system,” said Sen. John Thrasher.

Republicans in the Florida Legislature are worried the state won’t be able to keep its promise. Both chambers have reform bills. The House plan would close the pension to new employees beginning in 2014.

“If we go with this plan the savings are going to be in the tens of billions of dollars over the course of 30 years, now that’s depending on a lot of assumptions, but it’s a huge magnitude in the correct direction,” said Rep. Jason Brodeur.

The Senate version only closes the plan to the highest paid state workers and some see it as a fair compromise.

“If you are comparing the two proposals then yes the Senate has a much more moderate position,” said Sen. Oscar Braynon.

Senate Democrat Oscar Braynon says if the legislature has to choose, then his chamber has the better version, but Democrats from both chambers would rather see session end with no reform.

“Why do we need to be messing with it at all? It’s one of the healthiest plans in the entire country and the truth of the matter is it’s working just fine,” said
Sen. Jeff Clemens.

“I feel like this is a solution looking for a problem we have a healthy FRS system,” said Braynon.

The House already passed its bill. Now time is running out for the Senate to act.

The reform comes on the heels of legislation forcing state workers to contribute three percent of their salaries to the pension plan. The senate bill would reduce the contribution rate to 2%.