ALBANY, NY. (WTXL)- A report released Thursday by the LeRoy Collins Institute says local government pension plans continue to place a significant burden on municipalities across Florida.
The report, called "Tough Choice Facing Florida's Governments" evaluated over 150 local pension plans in the state. Results show many of them are having a difficult time meeting their financial obligations, even as the economy recovers from the Great Recession. Grades were assigned to the various pension plans, and 46% received 'D' or 'F' grades, while only 30% were given an 'A' or 'B'. The number of pension plans receiving a failing grade has more than doubled since 2011. The grades were based on criteria such as whether or not a plan is fully funded to cover current liabilities as well as what the employee contribution rate is.
David Matkin, Assistant Professor, University at Albany says, "About 50% of local government pension plans in the state have shifted from being in good financial conditions, A's and B's and such, to being down into more of a concerning area."
Malkin says, the data should be used by civic and state leaders to quickly reform the local government plans, before it is too late. Unlike the larger, statewide Florida Retirement System, the local plans cover city police, firefighters and some other municipal-government employees. Local pension reform had strong support in the state legislature during the 2014 session, but the effort was tied to another attempt to overhaul the larger state retirement system, and ultimately, no change was made to either one.