Police, firefighters and other first responders would be allowed to retire earlier & younger under a measure approved Wednesday

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Police, firefighters and other first responders would be allowed to retire earlier and younger under a measure approved Wednesday that removes changes made only last year, reports the News Service of Florida. Those employees could again retire at 55 and with 25 years of service. Last year lawmakers changed the pension rules to require special class employees to wait until they turn 60 or have 30 years of service to retire with full benefits. The repealer, HB 525, comes with a catch. New employees would be put on traditional pension plans but automatically switched to a defined contribution programs unless they chose to stay on the traditional plan within 12 months of being hired. Critics including local unions say young employees don’t think about retirement much and may get pushed into the riskier investment track unwittingly. Backers, including the Police Benevolent Association, say the bill ensures that employees will be well informed.

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.