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Lawmakers ready to address pension reform

Posted at 6:21 AM, Jan 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-13 06:21:00-05

Tallahassee, Fla. (WTXL) - Floridians can expect to see pension reform back as a hot topic when the legislature reconvenes this March.

Last year, a bill passed in the Florida House of Representatives that would have closed the Florida Retirement System pension plan to new state hires, but the bill died in the Senate.

House Speaker Will Weatherford is expected to alter this year's legislation to make it more appealing to those lawmakers who opposed it last session.  He is stressing that any reforms would not impact current employees and retirees.

The FRS took a substantial hit during the 2008 recession. Last year, more than $500 million of state money was added to the fund.  That's money that Weatherford argues could be going to other causes, like education.

Our media partners at The Tallahassee Democrat report that lawmakers already have ideas to alter the current pension system.  They're discussing everything from a hybrid plan, combining traditional pensions with a 401(k), to ending defined benefits for elected officials and senior management.

Those opposed to reform worry that without an appealing retirement package, people will be less inclined to take government jobs which traditionally pay less than private enterprise.

The Florida Legislature is back in session March 4, 2014.