EDITORIAL: Time for Florida taxpayers to make noise with respect to generous pension benefits for elected officials
|By Treasure Coast Newspapers, Stuart, Fla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
If you succeed in the profession, you may find a pot of gold waiting for you at the finish line.
"Elected official" is a pretty good gig in
The compensation is excellent, with salaries in excess of
The member of this group most familiar to readers is St. Lucie County Property Appraiser
How is this possible? The answer lies in a little known pension-funding formula -- one established by elected officials to benefit elected officials.
The key factors in determining a public official's annual pension payments under the state system are: 1) an average of the official's five highest-paid years; 2) total years of service; and 3) a multiplier based on number of years worked and highest salary.
The multiplier for
The 3 percent multiplier for elected officials is particularly noxious. Why should elected officials receive this overly generous benefit? It defies logic.
The short answer is, "because they can."
State legislators make the rules -- and the rules clearly benefit them.
In 2011, former Sen.
The bill gained little traction in
The truth is, past members of the
"That's not a proposal I'm going to personally introduce as a bill this session, given my other responsibilities," Negron said.
This is disappointing coming from Negron, who has demonstrated a willingness in the past to confront pay and benefit inequities in
Incredibly, until then, legislators were paying a miserly
Through Negron's efforts,
Negron and his colleagues now must turn their attention to another glaring inequity in
Let's be clear: The impetus to change health insurance premiums for state lawmakers didn't begin with Negron. Instead, it arose following public outrage over this egregious disparity. When taxpayers learned of the health insurance inequity, they bombarded legislators with calls for reform.
The state retirement system exists in its current form, in part, because taxpayers have allowed it to happen. Either through ignorance or indifference, we have allowed lawmakers to perpetuate a system beneficial to themselves and costly to taxpayers.
Groundwork is being laid to reform the state's retirement system during the 2014 Legislature. Proposals being discussed include requiring new state employees to enroll in 401(k)-style plans, and allowing employees to take pensions as a lump sum or an annuity.
But who in
The silence is deafening.
It's time for the public, once again, to make some noise.
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