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House proposes raising public employee retirement age, imposing 5 percent pay cut

The retirement age for all workers in Florida's Retirement System would rise and all public workers would take a 5 percent pay cut under the House's version of a pension rewrite approved Thursday by the House Governmental Operations Subcommittee.

The Republican-dominated committee approved the bill along a party-line vote, despite warnings from law enforcement and firefighters who said that requiring them to work longer in high risk jobs before they draw their retirement will endanger the public. The measure lengthens time police, firefighters, and other special risk employees work before they can retire from 25 to 30 years, or from age 55 to age 60, whichever comes sooner. For everyone else, the retirement age would rise from 60 to 62 years, or from 30 to 33 years.

The changes are designed to have the state's public pension fund more in line with private retirement plans, said Rep. Debbie Mayfield, one of the bill's sponsors. Opponents challenged that conclusion and suggested that the real motive for the proposed pension changes was to use public sector salaries to fill the state's $3.6 billion budget deficit rather than seeking money by closing tax loopholes.

The bill mirrors Gov. Rick Scott's plan to shift five percent of the annual salary from employees in the Florida Retirement System into their retirement account, thereby saving the state and local government money. But the House rejected several of the governor's ideas including his plan to end the defined benefit pension plan for new workers and eliminating cost of living adjustments for all retirees.

The bill, by Rep. Ritch Workman, mirrors Gov. Rick Scott's plan to shift 5 percent of the annual salary from employees in the Florida Retirement System into their retirement account, thereby saving the state and local government money. But the House rejected several of the governor's ideas including his plan to end the defined benefit pension plan for new workers and eliminating cost of living adjustments for all retirees.

Comments

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Anne

Does the bill contain a grandfathering clause for the change in retirement age/years of service? Or are state workers within a few years of retirement going to find themselves suddenly forced to work additional years?

Tina

The house bill grandfathers us in for retirement age/years of service. We will still pay 5% and any years of service beyond 7/1/11 will not accrue Health insurance subsidies or cost of living adjustment. Fortunately the system is setup in such a way that they can't take away what we accrued...this has been tested and failed before.

But don't let this article fool you...nothing being given to us is because the house is trying to be fair...they just know they can't do it. Or let me be very specific...house republicans. Every Republican voted yes and every democrat voted no.

I urge every Florida public (state and local)employee to read House Bill 1405...look for strike outs and underlines... And write to all House and Senate representatives. Be heard...it's your right!

Juana Maria

Maybe we should consider retiring the proponents of this bill.

Darrell


"The measure lengthens time police, firefighters, and other special risk employees work before they can retire from 25 to 30 years, or from age 55 to age 60, whichever comes sooner. For everyone else, the retirement age would rise from 60 to 62 years, or from 30 to 33 years."

I dont see that in the bill or the staff analysis. Are you sure you are reading that correctly?

Anne

Darrell, I keep visiting the House website to see the amended text of the bill, but all they have posted is the original filed version. It does not mention the increase in retirement age/years of service. They have not posted the amended bill that the committee approved Thursday.

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