It ain't over, A further call to action for FRS benefits!

this plan is being endorsed by the legislature, and by publicizing it around the state, it becomes propaganda to endorse the bills to cut your benefits. I also thought it was interesting that some of our elected officials were on the task force.

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Yesterday there was an interesting “letter to the editor” in the “Sarasota Herald Tribune”, called “State Budget Sense”.  The letter was submitted by the CEO of a Tallahassee organization called Florida Tax Watch, and lists “87 ideas worth $3.25 billion” to reduce spending.  I’m not really sure who the group is, nor  their function, but on their website states that they are “supported by voluntary, tax-deductible memberships and grants” and that “policy makers and government employees have implemented three-fourths of Florida TaxWatch′s cost-saving recommendations, saving the taxpayers of Florida more than $6.2 billion”.  It sounds like a lobbyist group, which would answer the question of, why would the CEO of a Tallahassee Group, write a letter to the Sarasota Herald Tribune?  I was intrigued enough to go to the site, and look at the 125 page report.   Among their suggestions, which have pretty much ALL appeared in recent legislative proposals:  Employee contributions to the plan of 5% (SB2022 is starting the process at a lower number to get in the door),  Reduce the Credit for Special Risk from 3% to 2%, and for Senior Management from 2% to 1.6% (Think HB 1319 and 1543), Re-evaluate and reduce the who is considered Special Risk, Up the vesting schedule from six years to ten years and last-but-not-least, adjust the 3% COLA increases to the actual Consumer Price Index with a maximum of 3%.  Obviously this plan is being endorsed by the legislature, and by publicizing it around the state, it becomes propaganda to endorse the bills to cut your benefits.  I also thought it was interesting that some of our elected officials were on the task force.  They are as follows:

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.

One wonders if the recommendations of a committee of such members are a foregone conclusion as to the outcome of the process.

It might also seem, the legislators do not want much opposition to their quest.  Based on the new 2010 Legislative Update letter on the MyFrs website, your calls and letters might be having a meaningful impact.  I believe the proof of your actions is the unbelievably fast push the legislature used in approving HB 5701.  The bill was not on the FRS website on Sunday, and by Wednesday had been through the vetting process and approved by the House and forwarded to the Senate.  (Time Line for HB5701).  The bill was placed on the “special calendar” a, 10:59 PM, and went through three readings and committee approval by 3:30 PM the next afternoon.  It would be difficult for anyone to lobby against it in that amount of time.  It is disappointing to think that the opposition expressed about HB 1319 and HB 1543 resulted in an expedited voting process.  That is very disturbing.  Therefore, it is essential we IMMEDIATELY CALL OUR SENATORS AND VOICE OUR DISAPPROVAL TO HB 5701.

The HIS benefit was designed to help Florida Retirement System Pension recipients with a monthly allowance to help offset the high cost of health insurance in retirement.  Although technically not a retirement benefit, HIS provides for $5 of monthly benefit for each year of service, to a maximum of $150.  Simple math equals an $1800 per year benefit that would be taken away.  Here’s some more simple math.  If you retire at 62, and live another 25 years, that is a $45,000 benefit you will be losing if this bill passes.  That is $45,000 you will have to come out of pocket for to pay for health insurance in your golden years!  More importantly, it is a benefit you were promised, you earned, and you were looking forward to.

With a budget shortfall of some $3 billion this year, and potentially $5 billion next year, it is obvious these proposals will continue.  I encourage all participants in the Florida Retirement System to continue to monitor these legislative changes, and CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS TO VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION TO ANY LEGISLATION THAT COULD CUT THE BENEFITS YOU WERE PROMISED!

  • Dianne Wallace

    I see your decisions as more of a future problem than a solution…as a member of the FRS close to my retirement date I was proud to have a career that promised to take away some of the fears of getting old and not having enough to survive on. With the high cost of health insurance and meds and all the other things that are happening with the decline in our finances, I felt so blessed to have a plan that would off set those things. Now for them to be taken away right at the time that I need them is a big disappointment! The problem I forsee is that there will be more people pulling off the system having to have assitance from the different government agencies Welfare, Medicade & etc because of the lack to provide for themselves.

    YOUR DECISIONS NOW ARE PROBLEMS WAITING TO HAPPEN!!!

  • Dianne Wallace

    I see your decisions as more of a future problem than a solution…as a member of the FRS close to my retirement date I was proud to have a career that promised to take away some of the fears of getting old and not having enough to survive on. With the high cost of health insurance and meds and all the other things that are happening with the decline in our finances, I felt so blessed to have a plan that would off set those things. Now for them to be taken away right at the time that I need them is a big disappointment! The problem I forsee is that there will be more people pulling off the system having to have assitance from the different government agencies Welfare, Medicade & etc because of the lack to provide for themselves.

    YOUR DECISIONS NOW ARE PROBLEMS WAITING TO HAPPEN!!!

  • Mike

    I find it interesting that they want to tie our COLA's to the cpi. I have heard over and over that is the way Social Security does it. Well I have no proble m with that. It is the 3% cap that gives me heartburn. This seems like all give and no get.

    Below is the history of Social Security COLA's from their website. That 3% cap is going to kill us when inflation goes back to double digits. It used to be offset by the years of getting 3% when the CPI was low.

    Once again the place to build political capital is on the backs of those that have served the citizens of Florida. We need to vote these lying slimeballs out ASAP.

    July 1975 — 8.0%
    July 1976 — 6.4%
    July 1977 — 5.9%
    July 1978 — 6.5%
    July 1979 — 9.9%
    July 1980 — 14.3%
    July 1981 — 11.2%
    July 1982 — 7.4%
    January 1984 — 3.5%
    January 1985 — 3.5%
    January 1986 — 3.1%
    January 1987 — 1.3%
    January 1988 — 4.2%
    January 1989 — 4.0%
    January 1990 — 4.7%
    January 1991 — 5.4%
    January 1992 — 3.7%
    January 1993 — 3.0% January 1994 — 2.6%
    January 1995 — 2.8%
    January 1996 — 2.6%
    January 1997 — 2.9%
    January 1998 — 2.1%
    January 1999 — 1.3%
    January 2000 — 2.5%(1)
    January 2001 — 3.5%
    January 2002 — 2.6%
    January 2003 — 1.4%
    January 2004 — 2.1%
    January 2005 — 2.7%
    January 2006 — 4.1%
    January 2007 — 3.3%
    January 2008 — 2.3%
    January 2009 — 5.8%
    January 2010 — 0.0%

  • Mike

    I find it interesting that they want to tie our COLA's to the cpi. I have heard over and over that is the way Social Security does it. Well I have no proble m with that. It is the 3% cap that gives me heartburn. This seems like all give and no get.

    Below is the history of Social Security COLA's from their website. That 3% cap is going to kill us when inflation goes back to double digits. It used to be offset by the years of getting 3% when the CPI was low.

    Once again the place to build political capital is on the backs of those that have served the citizens of Florida. We need to vote these lying slimeballs out ASAP.

    July 1975 — 8.0%
    July 1976 — 6.4%
    July 1977 — 5.9%
    July 1978 — 6.5%
    July 1979 — 9.9%
    July 1980 — 14.3%
    July 1981 — 11.2%
    July 1982 — 7.4%
    January 1984 — 3.5%
    January 1985 — 3.5%
    January 1986 — 3.1%
    January 1987 — 1.3%
    January 1988 — 4.2%
    January 1989 — 4.0%
    January 1990 — 4.7%
    January 1991 — 5.4%
    January 1992 — 3.7%
    January 1993 — 3.0% January 1994 — 2.6%
    January 1995 — 2.8%
    January 1996 — 2.6%
    January 1997 — 2.9%
    January 1998 — 2.1%
    January 1999 — 1.3%
    January 2000 — 2.5%(1)
    January 2001 — 3.5%
    January 2002 — 2.6%
    January 2003 — 1.4%
    January 2004 — 2.1%
    January 2005 — 2.7%
    January 2006 — 4.1%
    January 2007 — 3.3%
    January 2008 — 2.3%
    January 2009 — 5.8%
    January 2010 — 0.0%

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    Keep in mind it has always been capped at 3%, no matter how high or low inflation was.  It is unrealistic to have a pension fund that could possibly index to inflation regardless of how high.  In the proposed scenario, you will lose out if inflation is less than 3%, and maintain the current benefit if it is higher.  In the world of retirement and pensions, a 3% COLA is pretty generous, even as a cap.
     Mark A. Davy

    SouthBay Investment Group, llc
    665 S. Orange Avenue, Suite 4
    Sarasota, Florida  34236

    941-951-1977
    941-952-1937 (fax)

    ________________________________

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    Keep in mind it has always been capped at 3%, no matter how high or low inflation was.  It is unrealistic to have a pension fund that could possibly index to inflation regardless of how high.  In the proposed scenario, you will lose out if inflation is less than 3%, and maintain the current benefit if it is higher.  In the world of retirement and pensions, a 3% COLA is pretty generous, even as a cap.
     Mark A. Davy

    SouthBay Investment Group, llc
    665 S. Orange Avenue, Suite 4
    Sarasota, Florida  34236

    941-951-1977
    941-952-1937 (fax)

    ________________________________

  • charliesaavedra

    As A Retire and live dependent on social security and my little pension It would div-sate me if I should lose it. Please don't let this happen.

  • charliesaavedra

    As A Retire and live dependent on social security and my little pension It would div-sate me if I should lose it. Please don't let this happen.

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    It is essential you keep those calls and letters to your Rep's going. It is working, so we can't let up!

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    It is essential you keep those calls and letters to your Rep's going. It is working, so we can't let up!

  • stuartd54

    I am a thirty year Law Enforcement officer who retired in 2009. The H.I.S. is a big help considering I was looking at $1300.00 a month for health insurance for my family of three. Please continue the H.I.S. it is a big help to me.

    As far as the 3% cola, this is something that has been a pratice for many many years and is part of our retirement package when we retired.

    Please keep in mind the many brave men and woman who risk their lives daily to protect and serve our comunities. If you take the present retirement pack away I feel it will be harder to find qualified Law Enforcement people to man our streets. These dedicated people deserve a solid retirement system to reward them for their life time of dedication.

  • stuartd54

    I am a thirty year Law Enforcement officer who retired in 2009. The H.I.S. is a big help considering I was looking at $1300.00 a month for health insurance for my family of three. Please continue the H.I.S. it is a big help to me.

    As far as the 3% cola, this is something that has been a pratice for many many years and is part of our retirement package when we retired.

    Please keep in mind the many brave men and woman who risk their lives daily to protect and serve our comunities. If you take the present retirement pack away I feel it will be harder to find qualified Law Enforcement people to man our streets. These dedicated people deserve a solid retirement system to reward them for their life time of dedication.

  • rgoings

    Since the state government could not balance the budget they punish employees who are in the Florida state retirement system. What is going to happen next year at budget time when is this madness going to stop. We worked hard for this retirement WE GAVE A LOT FOR SO LITTLE IN RETURN. I ask all of you in the retirement system are we really FREE when the government can take and give as they please.

  • rgoings

    Since the state government could not balance the budget they punish employees who are in the Florida state retirement system. What is going to happen next year at budget time when is this madness going to stop. We worked hard for this retirement WE GAVE A LOT FOR SO LITTLE IN RETURN. I ask all of you in the retirement system are we really FREE when the government can take and give as they please.

  • Pingback: All FRS Legislation put on HOLD? | Florida Retirement System info

  • Patricia Hughes

    If I lose my HIS benefit, I will have to drop my insurance. With my social security and my pension, my monthly health care premium (which went from $46 last year to $88 this year out of my pocket) will not be an option for me. This benefit was a promise to me when I hired on to the Brevard County Sheriff's Dept. I don't think it's morally right to take it away. The 3% annual cost of living increase each July was also a promise to me upon my being hired. If they have to do something, then rewrite the future. At least that will give current and future employees the chance to make a change in employment or planning for their retirement. This isn't something I recommend or am in favor of, but it certainly shouldn't even be considered legal to take away something they have promised and already given to those of us who can't now go out and get jobs to supplement our retirement income.

  • JB

    I am retired from the Brevard County Sheriff's Department, I served this county for 25 years in law enforcement. I cannot believe that this state and county of Florida are ready to mess with our retirement. It has gotten to a point where promise's are broken by the State of Florida and Washington. The FRS promised their employe's a good retirement, with a 3% cola each year. Now they want to take it away. Our law enforcement officer's were paid some of the lowest salaries in the state of Florida, and now they want to take away our retirement. It is a slap in our face, for protecting its citizens and giving up a lot with our families. In all the past years there was not a problem with our retirement system, now all of a sudden the State is telling us they don't have the money and want to tax us even more. I think you need to go to the Senators and ask them to give up their raises that they voted for themselves, and donate their raises to our retirement system to keep it going.

  • KB

    Could you please clarify if those in state legislature are FRS participants, and if so, are they affected, or specifically excluded from the proposed changes? I realize tha many have pensions from other businesses or are far better off financially, than most in “regular” service for the state. Thank you.

  • http://www.floridaretirementsystem.info Mark Davy

    Elected Officers have their own class within FRS.  It is similar to Special Risk in benefits.  The brochure is available on the home page of MYFRS.com.  Below is an excerpt from the class.  You will not “legislator” as one of those eligible for the class.  At this point I have not seen any proposed legislation that exempted or gave the Elected Officers class special treatment.  I might propose that the many of our legislators at the state level, have some level of financial security.

    The Elected Officers’ Class (EOC) is one of the five membership
    classes of the FRS. Membership is open only to persons holding
    the following elected state or local offices:Elective Office Date Included in ClassGovernor, Lt. Governor,
    Cabinet Officer, Legislator,
    Supreme Court Justice,
    District Court of Appeals Judge,
    Circuit Judge, State Attorney ………………………………….. July 1, 1972
    County Court Judge ……………………………………………. October 1, 1974
    Public Defender ………………………………………………………… July 1, 1977
    Public Service Commissioner ……………… July 1, 1972 – June 30, 1979
    Elected County Officer
    (any constitutional county elected officer, or
    any elected officer with countywide jurisdiction
    who exercises the powers and duties of a
    constitutional county elected officer) ………………………. July 1, 1981
    Elected officers of municipalities or special districts
     Mark A. Davy

    SouthBay Investment Group, llc
    665 S. Orange Avenue, Suite 4
    Sarasota, Florida  34236

    941-951-1977
    941-952-1937 (fax)

    ________________________________