Florida House Moves To Charge Florida Taxpayers More and Deliver Retirees Less

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March 21, 2013

Provide to Florida Public Employees

By: James Preston, President Florida FOP State Lodge



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Contact: Alan Stonecipher:

Phone: (850) 510-0954




(STATEWIDE, FL) The Florida House of Representatives began debate Thursday on its ill-advised pension bill, continuing to rely on a faulty, incomplete, discredited study in their effort to muscle the Florida Retirement System into a 401(k)-style system.

The bill will cost Florida taxpayers more and puts at risk the retirement security of Florida’s teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other public servants.

Most studies show that changing a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, as the bill provides, would cost taxpayers more money and provide less for retirees. Many states have considered this plan, but have dropped it after concluding that it would lead to higher costs to taxpayers while leaving retirees with a small retirement nest egg.

“These changes raise the possibility that teachers and other public servants would have to work past the age of retirement, if they could afford to retire at all,” said Florida Education Association President Andy Ford.

For law enforcement officers and firefighters, the HB 7011 provides cheaper death benefits for the families of first responders than currently offered in the FRS pension plan.

“The death benefits in this bill are woefully inadequate for surviving family members of firefighters and other first responders who risk their lives to protect Floridians,” said Gary Rainey, president of Florida Professional Firefighters.  “The benefits provided in this bill will end when the family will need it most,” he said.

House leaders are pushing this plan even though the Florida Retirement System is one of the best-funded in the nation and there is no logical reason to change it at the expense of taxpayers and Florida teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and others who serve the people of Florida.

An actuarial study of the bill requested by the House failed to include the largest cost of closing the FRS pension plan:  lower investment earnings when fund managers shift to less risky, liquid, lower-earning assets to have money on hand as pension plan participants near retirement.  Because of that omission, House approval of the bill will come without a credible assessment of its true costs to Florida taxpayers.

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