Biggest pension issue left unaddressed as lawmakers prepare to Sine Die

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The following is a statement by Dr. Robert McClure:

“With national attention surrounding pension reform, the 2011 Legislative Session brought hope of improvement surrounding Florida’s government pension issues. Early pension reform proposals contained measures that would create a more reliable system for government employees and reduce the burden on Florida’s current and future taxpayers.

Unfortunately, pressure from powerful, government-employee unions diluted these bills. It became evident real legislative reform would again be stifled and Floridians needed to speak out. Thus, Floridians for Sustainable Pensions launched into action forming an organized effort to warn of the dangers of today’s pension problems.

FSP members praise the dedicated efforts of Governor Scott in championing change in the government-employee pension system. His original proposal, which would have saved the state $2.8 billion over the next two years, included a switch to defined contribution for new employees allowing for more portability of pension plans for government employees. FSP members still believe this to be the single-biggest issue left unaddressed this session.

Through the perseverance of many House and Senate members, specifically Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon, pension reform efforts have been included in the final budget and are now under the consideration of Governor Scott. We are hopeful that the Governor will sign into law the good policy found in SB 2100 and SB 1128, but our work does not stop here. FSP will continue next session to further inform the public that a fair and sustainable government pension system – one that’s beneficial to all Floridians – is still yet to be achieved.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.