The following is a letter we received from a Tax-paying Florida Citizen, who is not associated with the Florida Retirement System. We found it to be refreshing, and wanted to share it with our readers. Thank you for your perspectives Mr. Cassidy!
To FRS Options,
I am not in the FRS. I am also not related to anyone in it. I am really just a concerned Florida taxpayer, who does not believe that scapegoating public employees is fair or right. I do not believe that one small group of people should be punished, and essentially “taxed,” just because they chose a job or a career in public service.
Retirement benefits promised to public employees are not “pork,” but are in effect “a contractual agreement” with public employees. I do not believe that it is legal to break contracts or moral to break promises.
The economic downturn is not the fault of public employees; and, as a registered Republican, I am embarrassed that many Republican politicians, not only here in Florida, but across the nation, are attacking the pay, benefits, and pensions of public employees. Scapegoating public employees seems to be more of an assault on working people and the middle-class, and to protect big business and the ultra-wealthy, than it is an effort to balance the budgets of many states.
Additionally, I believe that a defined benefit retirement plan is better than a defined contribution plan, because it guarantees retirees a known amount of money they will be receiving and living on in their retirement, which is essential for older people and senior citizens. Converting the state’s retirement plan from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, even for new employees, would be costly and would threaten the plan’s investment potential. If Florida’s public employee retirement system is not broken, politicians should not be trying to fix it; and, even if it is broken, cutting benefits or changing the plan is not the solution, especially when it seems politically driven.
Unfortunately, certain media outlets and radio and television personalities have been whipping up the anger and resentment of people not in public employment; and, as a result, there is a huge wave of malice and discontent aimed at public employees by people who have been duped into believing that they are being taken advantage of by public employees. I do not believe this. Due to what is happening in other states, and by what I hear on television and read in online newspapers, it looks more like a politically motivated attack against public employees by certain politicians who are catering to special interest groups and who are more interested in their own political careers and ambitions, than they are in doing what is right, fair, and just. I dislike partisan politics, and I think that it works against America and is going to hinder our nation’s recovery from the economic downturn that it is now in.