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Florida Retirement System

Pension numbers increase budget pressure

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State analysts agreed Thursday to lower the expected rate of return on Florida’s $154 billion pension fund, which will put more pressure on lawmakers as they craft a new state budget.

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State economists lower expectations for pension fund

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pension fund

State economists on Thursday decreased the Florida Retirement System Pension Fund‘s expected rate of return on investments to 7.6 percent, from 7.65 percent. The Actuarial Assumption Conference had stalemated earlier in the week, with some wanting the rate held at 7.65 percent, and others arguing to go down to 7.5 percent. Don Langston, staff director of the House of Representatives’ Finance & Tax Committee, agreed with the move, though not without some trepidation. “Unless something radical changes … to turn the long-term (economic) outlook around,…

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Economists agree to disagree on state pension fund

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State economists on Tuesday deadlocked over changing the state pension fund’s expected rate of return on investments. The Florida Retirement System Actuarial Assumption Conference will meet again Thursday to see if members can compromise. Christian Weiss, economic policy coordinator for Gov. Rick Scott, argued for keeping the system’s assumed rate of return at 7.65 percent. But Don Langston, staff director of the House of Representatives’ Finance & Tax Committee, and Amy Baker, head of the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research, argued for lowering…

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Florida House approves pension changes for state workers

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Public employees will get steered away from Florida’s pension plan under a bill approved by the Florida House. The House voted 72-38 for a measure that would automatically place newly hired public employees in an investment 401(k) plan if the employees failed to make a choice within eight months of starting their jobs. The legislation would apply to all new employees hired in July 2017 or after. For several years, House Republicans have tried to make changes to the Florida…

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Budget, health care issues cloud Legislature’s opening day

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The Republican-led Florida Legislature kicked off its annual session Tuesday with the usual pomp, but the celebratory nature was overshadowed by lingering questions about the state budget, tax cuts and health care. The two GOP legislators in charge opened the session by stressing areas on which they plan to work in tandem over the next 60 days. That included dealing with the state’s standardized testing system. But Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli struck decidedly different tones…

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Day 1 with Andy Gardiner: Medicaid, greyhounds, water and a ‘long way to go’

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Senate President Andy Gardiner spoke with reporters for about 10 minutes Tuesday after the Senate adjourned its first session of the 2015 legislative session. The discussion highlighted the differences separating the House and Senate as they begin writing a state budget and addressing other priorities. While the Senate is focused on prison reform, providing access to health care for the uninsured and new regulations for greyhound racing, the House priorities include a gambling initiative, water policy and changes to the…

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Must-read story: Judge Thomas Freeman, Double-Dipper

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10 Connects Mike Deeson exposes Judge Thomas Freeman’s re-election payment D.R.O.P.  plan Meet Pinellas County Judge Thomas B. Freeman, who has been sitting on the bench for 29 years. In 2006 he signed the Florida Deferred Options Retirement Plan called D.R.O.P.  saying his resignation date would be September 20, 2011. Freeman says at the time it was the best thing for his family. But a loophole in the law allows elected officials to keep on working. That means if Freeman is…

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