The Florida House’s push to overhaul the $136 billion pension plan used by more than 600,000 teachers, police, firefighters and other government workers is headed toward tense, end-of-session deal-making with the Senate.
But roots of the controversial reform effort are deep and stretch far from Florida’s Capitol.
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The Florida Retirement System
- 623,000 government workers and 335,000 retirees enrolled.
- Almost 50 percent work for school districts; 23 percent for county governments; 20 percent for state government; remainder for cities, special districts, community colleges and universities.
- Enrolled employees can choose between traditional pension or, for the past decade, optional investment plan: More than 500,000 enrolled in pension; 100,000 in the 401(k)-style fund.
What the House wants
Beginning Jan. 1, new hires would be prohibited from joining traditional pension. Instead, would be eligible only to join a defined contribution investment plan like a 401(k).
What the Senate wants
- Would require newly hired senior managers to join investment plan.
- Would give other public employees an incentive by cutting their payroll contributions to 2 percent if they join the investment plan. If they choose the traditional plan, they’d pay 3 percent.
Source: CS/HB 7011; CS/SB 1392, 2011-12 Florida Retirement System Annual Report.