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”.
We at FRS Options can only agree that all members should take this as the “Forewarning” it is meant to be. The Florida Retirement System is certainly aware of the potential for change, and so should you! In addition to the warning, FRS goes so far as to seemingly endorse a switch to the FRS Investment Plan.
The legislature will most certainly revisit making changes to the FRS Pension Plan. Governor Scott was recently a guest on “Squawk Box” where he made it clear that it is his intention to see to it the FRS Pension Plan is fully funded (despite all evidence that it is extremely well funded and it great financial condition), and to see the pension plan ultimately disappear entirely – to be replaced by a “401-k” type plan. We wonder if the additional statements by FRS in support of the Investment Plan would be indicative of their apprehensions about the future of the Pension Plan, and a fairly blatant plug for the FRS Investment Plan. In addition to his constant laments about “making the plan sustainable”, and his quest to bring the plan in line with the private sector (which we find to be an interesting bit of rhetoric, since it is NOT the private sector. We would ask what is the “private sector” equivalent of firefighter or law enforcement officer, or of service jobs designed purely to benefit the taxpaying citizens of the state – and how and to what would one compare their pay or benefits?), we should all prepare.
2012 is an important election year, with both Senators and Representatives up for re-election. All FRS members should take an active role in their choices of representation, and work diligently to make both the legislators, and the general public, understand why you deserve to keep your benefits.