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Lawmakers consider change to pensions for state employees

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Florida lawmakers are considering a bill to end the state pension plan for new goverment workers and shifting to a 401(k)-style plan.

According to the Sun Sentinel, current employees will not see an affect from the bill but the pension plan for new hires ends as of January 2014. Those employees would stop collecting disability benefits from the pension system and be placed into a 401(k)-type plan.

The bill would affect state and county employees such as teachers, firefighters and those working for the school board, according to the the article.

Doug Martin, legislative director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council (AFSCME) 79, said he is worried the bill might not benefit all employees.

Martin, whose organization represents public employees, said the bill will prevent some workers from having a comfortable retirement.

“What they are proposing is to force all new employees to go into these 401(k)-style plans and then currently employees are required to contribute 3 percent of their salary and the state contributes less than 3 percent right now,” he said. “They will end up with half or less of retirement that they have now.”

Proponents of the bill, according to the Sun Sentinel, said the change can create a more stable retirement system that will not rely on tax payers.

“Going forward, if they are able to do this then it’s going to very much change,” Martin said. “The ability of the state and other agencies and universities to recruit and retain quality personnel because the state does not need to be an employer of last resorts. It needs to have the best and the brightest.”

Sarah Brand edited this story online.

About Kelsey Meany

Kelsey is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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