Pension policy has become an important issue in the race to be Florida’s governor, and the two major candidates (incumbent Rick Scott and challenger Charlie Crist) both have very different views on how the pension system should be altered, or not.
A rundown of their respective positions, from the Ocala Star Banner:
If Rick Scott is re-elected, you can expect a renewed push to move more public workers out of the traditional pension plan and into a 401(k)-type plan — which is currently an optional plan in the retirement system.
It was under Scott that public workers began making an annual 3 percent contribution to the state retirement fund in 2011. Scott’s criticism of the current system includes keeping a list of public workers who qualify for more than $100,000 in annual pension benefits on his state office website.
Under the changes, employees can choose whether their contributions and state contributions go into the traditional pension plan or into a 401(k)-type plan in which they can direct the investments.
If Charlie Crist wins, he is more likely to side with major labor unions that are supporting his campaign, including the Florida Education Association, which argue that Florida’s pension plan should not be changed.
The positive returns on the pension fund for the fiscal year that ended in June will bolster the argument that change is not needed.
Florida’s pension funds returned 17.4 percent in fiscal year 2013-14.
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