Modernizes Florida Retirement System and protects Florida taxpayers

6/23/2011 Orlando, Fla. – Keeping his promise to make sure Florida is no longer the only state in America that does not require government employees to contribute to their pensions, Governor Rick Scott today signed Senate Bill 2100, pension reform legislation that will save taxpayers and participating employers $2 billion next year. The reform ensures that retirees can continue to depend on the Florida Retirement System for decades to come.

Beginning July 1, 2011, state workers and other participants in the Florida Retirement System will contribute three percent of their salaries toward their pensions. The required contribution applies to all active members of the Florida Retirement System or one of the optional retirement programs sponsored by the state universities and colleges. The bill signed today achieves the following savings by employer groups:

School Boards – $819.4 million
Counties – $597.7 million
State – $356.8 million
Others – $108.8 million
Universities – $66.2 million
Colleges – $56.4 million
Total – $2,005.3 million (over $2 billion)

Governor Scott was joined by representatives of the Florida League of Cities and Floridians for Sustainable Pensions, a diverse group of citizens, civic and business organizations concerned with Florida’s unsustainable government sector pension plans.

In addition to aligning pension contributions with those in other states, Governor Scott also signed Senate Bill 1128 that protects the retirement benefits for local governments by preventing surplus cash from being used for other purposes. Local governments must also disclose the present value of defined-benefit retirement plans and make the information available on the Florida Department of Management Services’ website.

“Without reform, Florida’s government pensions and retirement system put a heavy burden on our state’s taxpayers. As a result, dedicated public servants were forced to face the uncertainty of future retirement benefits,” said Governor Scott. “The steps we are taking this year move us closer to modernizing the system and ensuring it will be around decades down the road for future retirees. As we work to strengthen our retirement system even more, I look forward to working with the Legislature and all Floridians to make sure the retirement system is fair to both retirees and taxpayers.”

In March, Governor Scott launched the website FloridaHasARightToKnow.com that shed light on state pensions with annual benefits of $100,000 or more.

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