The Florida Senate “Interim Work Plan 2011 Session” has been published on the Florida Senate Website, and there doesn’t seem to be any entry or schedule for the “Summer Study” that was promised (please see FRSOptions post “All FRS Legislation put on hold”). During the 2010 Legislative Session, Senator Mike Bennett announced that all changes to FRS would be put on hold pending a summer study on how the legislators should best proceed in making potential changes. The pending study provided a respite for Florida Retirement System participants, as none of the thirty-plus bills that had been introduced in the 2010 session came to fruition.
In the absence of the study it is unclear what course the legislators will take. Hopefully it will not be a repeat of the maelstrom of bills introduce this past session. It appears the press has been enlisted to a large degree, as there is seldom a day goes by that an article doesn’t appear condemning the Florida state pension plan and the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) as being overly generous, and an unfair liability to the taxpayers of the state of Florida. (We attempt to post a sampling on a regular basis on our sister site on Facebook.com/FRSOptions).
In light of the previously proposed bills, the vetoed changes, and the changes suggested by the “Florida Tax Watch”, which is a lobbying group that boasts of several prominent Legislators including the following:
Senator JD Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Policy and Steering Committee on Ways and Means and Designee of the Senate President to the committee. Bill McCollum, Attorney General for the State of Florida. Representative Franklin Sands, Minority Leader of the Florida House of Representatives. Alex Sink, Chief Financial Officer of the State of Florida. Will Weatherford, Florida House of Representatives, Designee of the House Speaker.
…it would be implausible to believe significant changes aren’t in store for FRS people and their benefits in the 2011 session. While we don’t advocate changes, if changes must be made, let’s all hope those changes don’t deprive current FRS participants of the benefits they have been promised, and are entitled too. Be prepared , changes are most assuredly in the future.