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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

FEA sues Florida over pensions

20

June

Calling the move an unconstitutional tax on teachers and other state employees, the Florida Education Association has sued the state over a new law that forces state workers to pay 3 percent toward retirement benefits.

From the FEA press release:

"This pay cut was used by legislative leadership to make up a budget shortfall on the backs of teachers, law-enforcement officers, firefighters and other state workers," said FEA President Andy Ford. "It is essentially an income tax levied only on workers belonging to the Florida Retirement System. It's unfair — and it breaks promises made to these employees when they chose to work to improve our state.

"While the state of Florida may make the policy decision to ask future employees to contribute to their retirement, it may not unilaterally change the convenant it made with current employees," Ford said.

The lawsuite alleges that Florida law expressly provides that the Florida Retirement System is one in which employees do not have to contribute part of their salaries and describes that as a contractual obligation of the State. The suite claims that the Legislature's action unconstitutionally impairs those contractual rights. The FRS collects retirement money for more than 900 state and local government employers in the state, covering 655,000 active employee members and providing benefits to 219,000 retired members. It has been a non-contributory plan since 1974.

The full suit is posted on lawyer Ron Meyer's website. The PBA has since announced it would seek to intervene as a plaintiff in the case.

[Last modified: Monday, June 20, 2011 11:19am]

    

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