After fierce debate Friday between ruling Republicans and union-allied Democrats, the House approves an overhaul of the Florida Retirement System, the pension fund used by more than 620,000 teachers, law enforcement and other public employees.
Breaking along party lines, the House voted 74-42 for the measure (CS/HB 7011), which would close the traditional pension plan to new employees. New hires seeking a retirement account would instead be required to join a defined contribution investment plan beginning Jan. 1.
The legislation is a top priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who maintains that the Florida Retirement System is underfunded and will command increasing millions of dollars from Florida taxpayers to keep it afloat in future years, a stance disputed by many experts.
“It’s fair. It’s fiscally responsible. And it’s time to act,” said Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne.
But Democrats accused House Republicans of using scare tactics to push through a proposal which already has been rejected by fellow Republicans in the Senate.
“You’re using boogyman tactics of how the taxpayers will save money….it’s absolutely false,” said Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach.