Like other States, Florida's pension system has found itself in a financial bind due to underfunding. According to the GOP Legislators, the underfunding was caused by having expensive benefits, forced upon them by public employees through their unions' use of Collective Bargaining. And now they are moving f0rward to ruin the existing pension system for good! Last year, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) convinced the legislature to impose a 3% "contribution" on public employees for those expensive benefits! After public employees unions filed suit claiming the State unlawfully altered their collective bargaining agreements, the Florida Supreme Court ruled the State indeed had the authority to require the employees contribute to the system. So, roughly $1Billion has been taken out of public employees' paychecks. But did those "contribution" actually go to the Pension System? Nope! The GOP legislature and its Governor, spent over $1Billion in employee "contributions" on General Fund appropriations! In other words, Florida's public employees are the only Florida residents paying a 3% tax on their income (Florida has no formal income tax)! And the pension's benefits remain underfunded.
Now, the legislature is proposing that all new public employees pay into a 401K plan and not into the existing retirement system; hence they will not receive defined benefits from the existing system. So when current employees reach retirement, the system will be distributing benefits while its reserves steadily decline. As a result, all retirees will be required to accept further reductions in benefits that will ultimately lead to a complete loss of benefits when the funds go dry. All because a system that was once healthy, was robbed of proper funding by a GOP legislature, while claiming unions stole the public's money for undeserving public employees. Now they ensure the system goes bankrupt because they ideologically do not believe in public pensions, let alone any negotiated by unions through Collective Bargaining! Killing two birds with one stone...unions and public pensions.
So score a point for the GOP in Florida, but public employees are the losers, and when they lose, all of Florida loses. Of all of the reasons teachers enter the field of education, money is not one of them. Benefits made lower salaries acceptable. Without benefits, schools will attract exactly the best they can afford, and you get what you pay for. And to the career teachers in Florida, suckers! Remember, you get the legislature and a Governor that you vote for!