the Florida Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Governor Rick Scott in the “Scott vs. Williams” lawsuit filed on behalf of Florida Retirement System members
As we have feared from the outset, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Governor Rick Scott in the “Scott vs. Williams” lawsuit filed on behalf of Florida Retirement System members and the three percent contributions taken out of employee paychecks since July 1 of 2010. The FSC ruling reverses the lower court ruling made by Judge Jackie Fulford in early 2012 indicating the employee contributions and changes were unconstitutional. As details are more clear, we will continue to provide information for members. It would appear there will be no repayment of contributions, and the elimination future COLA benefits will remain in effect.
The actuaries want to lower the contributions into the Florida Retirement System
FRS Options has received many requests in regard to the posting on the MyFRS.com site concerning SB 5005. We hope this will help. SB 5005 was simply a proposal by the legislature to match the contributions into the Florida Retirement System to the amounts required by the actuaries. SB 5005 was not passed, and was sent to the Conference Committee for final resolution. The results of the committee are not yet known to us.
The legislature may reduce future benefits to lessen plan liabilities, or may raise employee contributions to increase funding.
2012 is a major election year. Due to the 2010 Census results, Florida will undergo redistricting for legislative purposes. As a result, ALL Representatives and Senators will be up for re-election next year. The legislature is already in preliminary committee meetings, and the regular session will begin in January. It will be a big year, and we would highly urge all FRS members to anticipate another session of potential cuts to their benefits. The writing is on the wall, and in very large letters.
You only need to look at the MyFRS.com homepage where you will find a special notice box with the headline “Volatile Financial Markets”, there is a second headline – “Funding of the FRS Pension Plan” under which you will see the following;
“BE FOREWARNED:The FRS Pension Plan is less than 100 percent funded. The legislature may reduce future benefits to lessen plan liabilities, or may raise employee contributions to increase funding. The legislature may make changes to FRS at any time”.
As of July 1, 2011 there will be some changes made…you will receive no further credit for COLA for the five years after July 1, 2011.
As you are aware, one of the better benefits within the Florida Retirement System has been the automatic 3% Cost of Living Adjustment that FRS adds to your Pension checks each year. Over the course of a 24 year retirement, the COLA would almost double your annual pension, which would hopefully allow your standard of living to keep up with rising prices and inflation.
COLA is a simple process. Each year, beginning on July 1, your pension check is increased by 3% more than what it had been for the previous 12 months. That 3% compounds each year, meaning next year’s 3% pension increase will be added to last year’s pension increase, which was added to last year’s pension hike, and so on. To illustrate, let’s assume you Pension check is $2500 at retirement. Next year, it will be $2500, plus 3% ($75), so your pension check will be $2,575. Year three FRS will add 3% to the Second year amount which is $82.50, so the third year checks will be $2,657.50, and so forth. If you retire at 62, by the time you reach age 85 your monthly pension check will be almost $4,900!
As of July 1, 2011 there will be some changes made.
The Conference Committee members are in line to decide the fate of Pension Reform for the Florida Retirement System
It appears the Conference Committee members are in line to decide the fate of Pension Reform for the Florida Retirement System. As discussed previously, since the House and Senate could not agree on the proposals put forth, the House and Senate have appointed conferees to determine what course the legislature will take as to the reduction or elimination of your retirement benefits. It can be presumed that whatever agreement the Committee comes up with, will be presented to the Governor for his signature.
NEVER come across as negative, conflict oriented, or otherwise play into the hands of the politicians, who want pictures of workers with pitchforks massing as the gates.
We received this letter from the following individual, and felt it was such a well rounded and wonderful perspective, that with the author’s permission, we have copied it verbatim. I urge you ALL to read it, absorb it, and take action accordingly! Thank you Paul!
Subject: Concern over Legislative Season
By way of introduction, I am a retired Martin County deputy. Politically I am libertarian…
As I read the various posts on Facebook and elsewhere by public sector employees, I am struck with a fear that the attitude being conveyed by far too many public employees is playing directly into the aims of the political structure and their media supporters. The actions in Wisconsin are especially troubling. The political power structure wants to be able to paint the public employees as merely union followers using a pink brush, recognizing that the American voter, suffering under the current economic situation, can be easily led to consider public employees as the problem.
It might be be premature to make any decisions until the details are known.
As you are no doubt aware, Governor Scott is slipping tidbits about his plan for FRS into the news. Unfortunately, those tidbits are sparse in detail and his full plan is not scheduled to be released until February 7, so it is very difficult to get a grasp of how they will ultimately affect Florida Retirement System workers and retirees. It is obvious the changes, IF ENACTED, will be significant. It might be be premature to make any decisions until the details are known. In the meantime, 1,000,000 strong FRS participants and retirees should be contacting their legislators and directing those representatives as to how they want to be represented in Tallahassee.
The data indicates that public employees, both state and local, are NOT overpaid!
This article is a must read. It is a well presented, and thoroughly researched paper comparing the compensation and education of public vs. private employees by the noted think tank, the Economic Policy Institute.