Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Proposal to change Florida state pensions to 401(k) plan moves forward

TALLAHASSEE — A bill placing all new state employees in a 401(k)-style retirement plan passed a House subcommittee on a party-line vote Thursday, setting up a major showdown between legislative Republicans and public workers' unions.

But even as they supported the bill — a key priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel — some GOP members warned that they wanted to know more before it comes to the floor.

The measure (PCB GVOPS 13-01) passed the House Government Operations Subcommittee after a contentious and at times emotional 3½-hour meeting. The bill would require all employees who begin working for the state on or after Jan. 1 to join a "defined contribution" plan.

Supporters of the proposal say it will stabilize future retirement costs at a time that the current pension plan is relatively sound and can support current employees and retirees.

But opponents argued that the proposal could destabilize the pension plan by removing the flow of funding from new members. And they said the strength of the fund was a reason not to change it.

"It's not just before we have a problem," said Rich Templin of the AFL-CIO. "There is no modeling that shows there will ever be a problem."

In some ways, the fight over whether to force new employees into a defined-contribution retirement plan is a remnant of the battle two years ago over whether to require employees to contribute 3 percent of their income toward their retirement. While lawmakers approved that change, they balked at the idea of closing the "defined benefit" plan to new workers.

"It seems like every time the Florida Retirement System is trying to do better, we do something to try to tear it apart," said Rowan Taylor, president of Metro Dade Firefighters.

Opponents of the change also complained that the committee went forward before receiving a study showing how the proposal might affect the pension plan — and if it might cost current employees more in the long run if the fund falters.

"We're not fools," said Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, in a speech that drew applause from bill opponents. "This is just a cost-shift. And my advice is, find someone else's pocket to pick. Leave our workers alone."

Weatherford has made it clear that the bill is one of his major initiatives this year. It comes at the same time that the Senate is considering legislation that would give cities more flexibility in how they use the insurance premium taxes that fund local police and firefighters' pensions.

But some Republicans on the panel said their support was contingent at least in part on the results of the study by the Department of Management Services, due Feb. 15.

Proposal to change Florida state pensions to 401(k) plan moves forward 02/07/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 7, 2013 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Photo gallery: First images of the total solar eclipse

    Space

    Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

    The moon covers the sun during a total eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore.  [Ted S. Warren | Associated Press]
  2. FBI warns of spreading W-2 email theft scheme

    Personal Finance

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms — scams that can put staffers' Social Security numbers and other critical information in the hands of thieves.

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms.
[McClatchy DC/TNS file photo]
  3. Barcelona fugitive shot dead outside city wearing bomb belt

    World

    SUBIRATS, Spain — A man thought to be the driver in the Barcelona van attack was shot dead by Spanish police Monday after authorities announced he also was suspected of killing the owner of a hijacked getaway car. The fugitive was wearing a bomb belt, authorities said.

    Police bomb squad officers work by a road near Subirats, Spain, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. A police operation was underway Monday in an area west of Barcelona, and a Spanish newspaper reports that the fugitive in the city's van attack has been captured. Regional police said officers shot a man wearing a possible explosives belt in Subirats, a small town 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Barcelona. [Associated Press]
  4. Man accused in slaying of two Kissimmee officers was well-regarded during time at MacDill

    Macdill

    A man accused of shooting to death two Kissimmee police officers was well-known at MacDill Air Force Base as a Marine who served key roles at two major commands.

    Everett Glenn Miller, a suspect in the fatal shooting of two Kissimmee police officers, was well-regarded by colleagues with whom he worked at MacDill Air Force Base. But his Facebook posts, friends say, show he was becoming increasingly angry. [Kissimmee Police Department]
  5. Recipe for Chicken Wings with Coconut Sweet Potato Puree

    Cooking

    This dish is an homage to one of my favorite Epcot International Food and Wine Festival dishes: Grilled Beef Skewer With Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree from the Patagonia kiosk. A boniato is a sweet potato with whiter flesh and a typically sweeter flavor. I use standard sweet potatoes in this recipe, plus a little …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.