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IPFS News Link • Government Debt & Financing

Pension Palaver: Florida's Muni Bloodbath Waits In The Wings

The Legislature's first attempt at revamping public pension plans' skyrocketing expense for state and local governments has proved shortlived, with a Central Florida House member quickly withdrawing his proposed bill. Rep. Fred Costello, R-Ormond Beach, said Friday that after huddling with union representatives, he has decided to drop his proposal (HB 303) that would have eliminated overtime pay from base salaries for retirement calculations and ended the state's Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). Costello instead said he has been assured by the Florida Police Benevolent Association, Florida State Firefighters Association, and other unions that they would lobby for an alternative plan he's promoting: A committee bill aimed at requiring that 15 percent of government payroll costs be earmarked for pensions. Right. First question: When you "huddled" with union representatives did they offer you a bribe or threaten to break your kneecaps? Now onto to the substance: Overtime, under current law, goes into pension calculations. You know, of course, what this means - policemen and firefighters find ways to draw lots of it during the last few years of their tenure, which then dramatically boosts their pension payouts. Oh, and the DROP plan? That's an outright scam. Who wins? The unions try to win, but the math is what it is. Where are you going to come up with the money, when at present some local governments are putting aside as much as thirty percent of their payroll to attempt to cover the pension system and it is still going broke?