Is Rick Scott Preparing to Screw Teacher and Police Pension Plans to Plug Budget?

Categories: Politicks
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Funny how though Tallahassee has been in the death grip of complete Republican control for more than a decade, the state still finds itself year after year with billion dollar budget holes to close. In order to shore up this year's $3.6 billion shortfall Gov. Rick Scott, several Republican politicians, and the perhaps too-influential Florida Tax Watch are taking aim at the benefits and retirement plans of public employees including teachers and police officers.  


The Heat Lightning has a round up of all the changes to the Florida Retirement System (FRS) that the private, non-private research institute Florida Tax Watch has suggested. Incidentally the organization boasts that a full three fourths of its suggestions have been adopted by the Florida Government in its more-than-thirty-year history. 

The Ft. Myers News-Press also has a story detailing many of the proposed changes currently being discussed by legislators, many of which resemble Florida Tax Watch's suggestions.  

Amongst the suggestions are eliminating subsidies for health insurance, increasing retirement age, and giving the pension program a major overhaul. 

Florida's public retirement system, which covers police officers, teachers, county and city employees and state workers, is unique amongst state plans in that the employees don't pay into their own plans. Several state legislators are apparently shocked. 

"They don't contribute and that's wrong," Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate has said.

"Government service comes at a price," says Senate President (and probably US Senate Candidate) Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island.

Words that should really inspire Florida's best and brightest to aspire to teach in public schools or patrol our streets.

While bringing Florida's retirement plan into alignment with that of other states' may not be in and of itself so controversial it's unlikely that the workers would receive a raise to offset the cost. In fact, The Heat Lightning reports that amongst Florida Tax Watch's suggestions is the idea of severely cutting or completely eliminating the amount the state pays into the retirement plans at all.


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23 comments
FSUTAMMY
FSUTAMMY

I ONLY MAKE 38,000 A YEAR, HAVE TAUGHT FOR 19 YEARS, SINGLE MOM, NO CHILD SUPPORT AND AM BARELY MAKING ENDS MEET RIGHT NOW, HOW DARE RICK SCOTT DO THIS TO US TEACHERS.

Kenneth Albin
Kenneth Albin

Let's look at retired teachers and Scott's plans. No yearly cost of living increase. Pay freezes for years that result in initial pensions that are low. Yep, I'm screwed all right. Just wait until they also eliminate the health insurance subsidy that is the only reason I have a basic health plan. Shall I just get ready to bend over again or should I plan on losing my home now and avoid the future hassles?

Ltfm
Ltfm

Florida Tax Watch's suggestions is the idea of severely cutting or completely eliminating the amount the state pays into the retirement plans of all its worth-less.

BONIFAY, Fla. — A corrections officer and an ex-convict wanted for killing his parents died in a gun battle Wednesday, state officials said.

The shootout happened after a homeowner confronted Wade Andrew Williams in the woods Wednesday.

Authorities had been searching for the 35-year-old since his parents were found dead in their home in the Florida Panhandle last week.

Williams tried to shoot the homeowner, but missed. He fled, setting off a massive manhunt.

K-9 units tracked Williams through a remote wooded area where authorities believe he had been camping. He shot and killed Col. Greg Malloy, a K-9 officer who had been with department since 1988, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said.

Authorities say they don't know why Williams would have killed his parents. He was released from the Tallahassee Work Release Center in August 2009. He was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of several burglary and grand theft charges in 2005 and 2006.

It has already been a deadly year for law enforcement officers around the country, particularly in Florida, where two St. Petersburg police officers and two Miami-Dade County detectives died in two separate shootings last month.

Mascomar
Mascomar

I have been agovernment empolyee for 29 years in the regular class and it is highly unfair to cut my pension at the end of my career. I have earned to receive the amount I was promised. If I was told this 20 years ago I would not have stayed in the public sector.

Allan

Redrose68
Redrose68

Thank you to all who support teachers, firefighters, and law enforcement. I really don't know what makes the general public, and republicans, hate us and resent us. We do what we do out of compassion, and out of love for kids, and the good people of our society. We are on the front lines day after day...yet there are those out there who do not respect us...and I will never know why. So I say again...thank you to all of you who support us...you will never know how much that means to all of us...teachers, police, and firefighters. I guess the eventual goal is to privatize...which, as we all know, will be devastating...since money, and profit margins will be the main driving force behind it...but this seems to be what many Floridians, and politicians want. IF you want to see the disaster of this...just look at the private jails in Arizona...they are a MESS and out of control...profits for the shareholders are the goal there...not safety for the communities that surround them...very sad.

Birdcheese2000
Birdcheese2000

lots of writers here fail to mention salaries of public employees in Florida are well below natiojnal standards to begin with. the benefits package keeps the folks we have. reduce the benefits and what good people you have will go elsewhere, which, in my opinion is the goal to begin with.

john smith
john smith

Does anyone find it ironic that one of the the US biggest crooks is now screwing the cops. I blame the FBI for this, if not for their incompentence he should be in jail. Man this guy is evil.

RSS
RSS

As a state law enforcement officer, I can tell you that we have had no raises in pay for the past 6 years. In the states where the employees contribute to their retirements, their employees are better compensated. I do not know many states that start their officers at 32,000.00 and after 6 years, your pay is still 32,000.00.

Bob
Bob

I get a much smaller paycheck than your typical cop and get a lot less vacation that your average teacher. In Miami Dade County there are over 3000 government workers making over $100K each (about $45M a year in taxes go to pay their salaries alone). I contribute to my 401K, I am building my own retirement and there's no reason, NONE, why these people should not be doing the same. End the privileged system, end the unions' stranglehold on taxpayers.

RTFC_Libs
RTFC_Libs

It's so funny to read all of your comments. He's been in office for how long and you're already spouting off all sorts of issues that you're getting "bent over" on. Go back to your union job where you get overly compensated, by the taxpayer, then complain when you're required to contribute some of your OWN money into your retirement.....OH NO, NOT MY OWN MONEY! As far as tying salary to students test score; don't worry union teacher, you're grandfathered in with this bill and you can continue your "first in, last out" policy that actually hurts the children more by keep teachers just because they've been teaching longer.

fred
fred

Reduce my paycheck and raise my homeowner's insurance while taking away some of my favorite state parks. Are we bending over enough yet? Oh wait, tie my salary to how well my disabled students due on a standardized test. Take away all rules and regulations on our water and environment. Oh yeah, we are ska-rewed.

PO'd
PO'd

You cannot base the entire states high risk employees on that of the Miami Dade area where the cost of living is sky high! Do us a favor.. go put your life on the line to be yelled at, disrespected, sued over lies and paid a petty salary and barely make ends meet. The only thing that has made all this worth while was the light at the end of the tunnel (retirement). I'm already seeking another profession should this light be taken away. It's not worth the risk of orphaning my child anymore and I'm over it. Then, when there aren't enough of us to protect you anymore.. see how you feel then when your fending for yourself when the boogie man comes along. I seriously doubt the AVERAGE cop is making six figures unless it's in overtime or extra duty (moonlighting which does not affect retirement or your tax dollars) Teachers are not paid for that 3 months they have to take off.. so you can't count that as a vacation you moron. Get your facts straight before stating an uneducated opinion.

Rayllanes67
Rayllanes67

Bob......I don''t know what YOU do for a living nor do I care. But if you think that your going to get Top Shelf Policemen and Firemen who go out and risk their lives everyday for the same pay and benefits as an "asst. Manager at B.K." your crazy. The people who risk their lives everyday for you and keep your streets safe and respond when one of family members is having a heart attack, hauling ass in rush hour traffic to save your ass deserve a little more. Remember moron when they raise taxes it affects us too and to top it off we take pay cuts on top of that then they raise our health insurance then they cut our pensions. I cant wait to see who is going to show up to apply to become police officers. Same guys who are security guards that cant become cops today. good luck because if they screw with our pensions too much I'm out and a bunch of other cops as well. go luck when you call the police in the future

Pmeyer01harris
Pmeyer01harris

I'm a 20 year teach. I bring home $2200/mo take home pay. I live in an average $150,000 house and after paying $900/mo mortgage, $300/mo home insurance, $200/mo property taxes, (1 tank of gas per week in a 13 year old car) $400/mo, $150/mo electricity, $50/mo water, $50/mo cable, $25/mo internet, $25/ mo for phone, I am only left with $100/mo for food. Tell me this, do you live on $100/mo for food?? So, where is this extra money that you think I have to put towards a pension or 401k?This was a life sacrifice that I made to teach your children, to help them make a better life for themself. How about you quit your job and home school your kid. Then I'll go back to my physical therapy profession.

TEA3781
TEA3781

OVERLY COMPENSATED???????? IM A TEACHER AND I AM FAR FROM OVERLY COMPENSATED.....

Mungo Faust
Mungo Faust

RTFC - Hopefully that stands for "Really Think For a Change" and you will do that. Obviously we should contribute to our own pension fund. However, when we teach in a state that is ranked slightly below average in teacher pay (26th), having to pay what amounts to an extra $2,000.00 a year is a huge issue, especially when there hasn't been a significant pay raise (more than 1%) in my county in 5 years. How about this - raise our pay rate comparable to the top 10 states in the country, tie our pay to student performance (which is already being done), and allow us to choose our own retirement plan without the state being involved at all. That way we can get a better return on our money and the state doesn't have to administer it for us. As a side note, it is people like you who love to spout off aboput how teachers and other government workers complain about how they get "bent over" all of the time, yet you offer no solutions.

nevernot
nevernot

It's because all these are items he's changed since coming to office. And by the way, the unions are responsible in no small part for creating the great American middle class, and the American dream is the exact description of what it means to be middle class. When the people tasked with teaching your children are making as much as asst managers at Burger King you can be damn sure they at least deserve a pension for raising your kids for you.

Herby Garcia
Herby Garcia

I love that this is the guy the right wanted elected. Republicans don't even know what they vote for when they for for their own party, LOL. I am dying laughing right now, and I am sure Obama is somehow going to be blamed for any and all cuts to social services, etc.

mainguyen
mainguyen

You're post is great. I always joke with my husband: I'm my students' teacher during the day and....to help make ends meet...my students are my fast food crew shift leader at night.

frustrated
frustrated

Your an idiot.. I'm as far right as I can be and always have been.. alot of us "righties" voted left on this one just to keep this idiot out of office. Hence the close race results. It's not always about party loyalty but about voting for the best person for the job.. sure wish you Dems would learn that.

Mungo Faust
Mungo Faust

One of my fellow teachers was complaining today about the retirement proposal. Some other teachers (including myself) commented that we didn't vote for Him. The first teacher got up and walked away. Once again, another Republican voting the party line, not realizing how they may be infected by their own disease at a later time. Teachers should opt out of the state retirement system and contribute to their own IRAs. That way the state can't play with our money for 30 years. I agree with Kyle. No one is going to want to become an educator or police officer, unless they like being under appreciated, under paid, and disrespected.

nevernot
nevernot

That joke would be funny if it wasn't so sad.... Good luck out there. Don't let the state fool you, we really appreciate the work you do. Without teachers where would we be as a society.

unions suck
unions suck

according to most public employees thats already happening so whats the big deal.

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