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Scott commends lawmakers for 'modernizing' outdated pension system

Gov. Rick Scott's first session has been true on-the-job training and Florida's new governor has clearly learned how to find the silver lining. In a statement issued Saturday, he commended lawmakers for "a great first step" in requiring state workers to contribute three percent of their salaries into their retirement system.

The agreement, reached by lawmakers late Friday, falls short of the 5 percent Scott called for and it also excludes the other major reforms he sought -- such as eliminating DROP, ending the defined benefits plan and using the money to offset what he considers an unhealthy unfunded liability in the Florida Retirement System. The Legislature, by contrast, believes the FRS is one of the strongest in the country, embraced DROP, and warned that eliminating the defined benefit plan will be too expensive to abandon. But it did move toward the shared retirement contribution that the governor sought, as well as his idea of ending the cost-of-living adjustments for new hires.

Here's the governor's statement:

“I pledged during the campaign that we would reform Florida's public pension system and follow the other 49 states in requiring state workers to fund a part of their own retirement just like most private sector workers do.  The legislature's proposal is a great first step toward modernizing Florida’s outdated pension system, and I applaud Speaker Cannon and Senate President Haridopolos for their leadership in starting us down the path toward a modern, robust and secure retirement system for Florida’s workers.”

 When the overhaul is signed into law, Florida will no longer be the only state in America that doesn’t require any employees to contribute to their pensions. 

“It is my goal to continue to modernize Florida’s retirement system until it is no longer reliant on our state’s taxpayers.  But I’m pleased that we’re moving in the right direction.”