Florida Supreme Court Rules State Workers Must Contribute to Pensions
GAINESVILLE - It's a big victory for Gov. Rick Scott and state Republicans, as the Florida Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that it is constitutional for all state employees to contribute to their own pensions.
The initial law was passed two years ago and required all state employees to contribute three percent of their pay to their pensions. The law was immediately challeneged by the state's largest teachers union, and then declared unconstitutional by a lower court. But that was all changed on Thursday when the state Supreme Court overturned that ruling.
While Republicans celebrate the move, many public employees are crying foul.
"A lot of private citizens and private business people work hard to save money for pensions," says Stafford Jones, chairman of the Alachua County Republican Party. "In this tough economy, its one of the steps to make sure Florida stays fiscally sound," he said.
But the president of one of the local law enforcement unions disagrees. "Florida routinely leads the nation in law enforcement officer injuries and deaths," said Jeff McAdams, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Gator Lodge #67. So when you tell me it's fair to take three percent away from people that already aren't making that much, I respectfully disagree," said McAdams.
The ruling affects nearly 600,000 public employees across the state, including government workers, most law enforcement officers, and teachers. But any public sector employees with locally funded pensions will not be affected by this ruling, including officers at the Gainesville Police Department and employees of the City of Gainesville.
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