FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231
Will Help Create Fiscally Stable State & Local Government Retirement Systems
TALLAHASSEE, FL (April 25, 2014) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds the Florida House of Representatives for today voting to secure public pensions and protect taxpayers. Creating fiscally stable state and local governments through modern and sustainable retirement systems helps avoid a bankrupt future that too many state and local governments currently face.
Currently, taxpayers are writing a $500 million check to cover $21.6 billion in unfunded liabilities that exist within state government’s defined benefit pension program. Even with the recent stability in the markets, Florida will continue to write this $500 million check for the next 43 years – and that’s assuming the liability doesn’t increase.
“Recent plan valuations from the overseer of the state’s pension plan show that, while Florida’s pension fund gained $3.8 billion in assets, it also gained $6.2 million in liabilities. This pattern is not sustainable,” said Leticia Adams, Director of Infrastructure and Governance Policy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce”
Legislation passed today in the Florida House, HB 7181, helps secure retirement plans for employees within the Florida Retirement System, as well as shores up local government pensions.
Specifically, HB 7181 will:
Give state government employees the option of choosing the existing defined benefit pension program or a 401(k) style investment plan and at the end of eight months, if the employee did not previously choose between the two programs, they will be enrolled in the investment plan.
Give the ever, more mobile state government workforce a greater opportunity to take their retirement funds with them should they leave state government employment before fully vesting. Only 17 percent of state employees remain with their state employment position for the full vesting period and receive full pension benefits.
Shore up local governments with underfunded pension programs.
Remove legislative mandates on how local governments are to provide benefits and ensure base benefits are fully covered for police and fire.
Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.