WUFT News

State pension-plan bill sparks debate

By on February 13th, 2013

Tensions are rising between politicians and opponents of a newly proposed pension plan for state employees.

A Florida House of Representatives subcommittee has approved a bill that will change the pension plan for state employees to a 401(k)-style plan, instead of the fixed amount of money currently being put into retirement funds.

Rep. Jason Brodeur, a Republican from Sanford, said the changes would only affect new employees or anyone who began working for the state after Jan. 1, 2014, by making their retirement options “self-directed.”

“A lot of people who rely on our current pension system have made a lot of life choices over the years based on what they believed they were going to receive,” he said. “Because we are addressing this early enough, we don’t have to make any changes for them.”

Brodeur said voting on the bill now and making minimal changes will prevent the need for major changes later on. Still, critics of the bill believe the current defined-benefit plan already supports employees and retirees.

The defined-benefit plan is more cost-effective, said Diane Oakley, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security.

A concern with the defined-contribution plan, or 401(k)-style plan, is that it will require more money from the employee to equal the same amount of benefit the current pension plan has.

“The person that actually contributes to it has to put in at least $14,000 a year to get the same benefit that he would get on the defined-benefit plan,” said Ray Edmondson, CEO of the Florida Public Pension Trustees Association.

Gary Rainey, president of Florida Professional Firefighters, said the new plan would have many consequences for those in the first-responder field.

“If a firefighter is killed in the line of duty, or disabled permanently in the line of duty, his surviving spouse and/or children will receive a refund of his contributions, and that is it,” Rainey said. “There will be no other support for the family, for someone who has made that sacrifice.”

The bill will be voted on during this legislative session and would take effect in January 2014.

Branden Snodgrass contributed reporting.


This entry was posted in Florida and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

Tax Collection Agencies Expedite Concealed Weapon Permits

Concealed Weapon Intake System, a voluntary program offered by the government, allows individuals to apply for or renew a concealed weapon license. Adopted by Marion County in April, people who serve in the military are receiving permits in less than a month.


State Panel Prepares To Move Forward With Medical Pot

The panel responsible for selecting the five nurseries where the state’s first legal pot will be grown have been appointed by Florida health officials. There will be three members, the chief of the Office of Compassionate Use, an accountant and a member of Gov. Rick Scott’s Statewide Drug Advisory Policy Council. 


medicalmj

Medical Marijuana Supporters Renew Legalization Efforts With New Petition

Supporters of medical marijuana legalization went to court houses all over Florida on Friday in an effort to acquire the signatures needed to put the issue on the 2016 ballot. They need a total of 683,149 signatures, according to Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, an organization dedicated to legalizing medical marijuana.


Marion County Plane Crash

Two People Dead In Weirsdale Plane Crash

Two people are dead after a single-engine aircraft crashed in Weirsdale, Fla. today. Marion County officials conducted early investigations before handing over to the FAA and NTSB.


Jimmy Nelson, owner and host of television show Extreme Fishing Adventures, films for an episode in Key West, Fla., in January 2011. Nelson, 36-year-old Dunnellon resident, gave up real estate in 2008 to host his own fishing show.

Dunnellon Resident Hosts Fishing Television Show

Jimmy Nelson, a resident of Dunnellon, Florida, grew up with an affinity for water and fishing. After his job as a real estate agent was affected by the 2006 housing market decline, Nelson began his journey of turning his fishing hobby into a television career.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments