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Weatherford seeks to change tone as House Speaker, but will push conservative agenda

 TALLAHASSEE --  Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford said Tuesday he wants to be known as an “inclusive reformer” for the next two years, one who works more with Democrats than his predecessor, Dean Cannon, but also continue to push a conservative agenda.

Top on his list is eliminating the state’s defined benefit plan for new employees. He said he wants to keep defined plans for existing employees, but that he would push to remove it as a choice for all new hires.

“The idea of a defined benefit plan is old and archaic,” Weatherford said. “We have to recognize it’s time for states to be fiscally responsible.”

Currently, employees can choose between a defined benefit plan, which pays out a guaranteed payment based on years of service times a percentage of average peak earnings; and a defined contribution plan, which is based on contributions the employee makes into investment accounts, which are considered riskier.

Weatherford said he didn’t know how much the change could save, but said states and cities facing mounting deficits have been pushed to the brink by the defined benefit plans. They are a “ticking time bomb” in state finances, he said.

Ethics and elections reform, such as eliminating powerful fundraising committees used by lawmakers, will be one of his top priorities, as well. Dubbed “Committees of Continuous Existence”, Weatherford said they have been misused by lawmakers and need to be eliminated to bring transparency to campaign finance. He said Florida’s law limiting campaign contributions to $500 per candidate were outdated and needed to be revised to reflect other states, some of which didn’t have any limits, such as Alabama, Indiana and Iowa.

Comments

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Carmela

Weatherford exemplifies everything wrong with the Republican party. Eric Fresen is the face of the future Republican party, not that old fart Will. Will old boy wanted to privatize the prisons, and we will not forget his hatred towards mankind just to fatten the CEO of the private prisons.

Redundant

Did I miss something? I didn't read any change in tone or anything 'inclusive' or 'reforming' in his remarks. This sounds like Jeb's first inaugural address.

kelly hallman

Go ahead Weatherford and you will be in the soup line with Shawn Harrison, Rich Glorioso, Rhonda Storms and Rachael Burgin. Keep your hands off of the FRS, it is fine

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