Govt. Watchdog Group Defends Report Recommending Closure Of Pension Plan

Feb 15, 2013

Government watchdog group Florida TaxWatch is defending the release of a report in favor of closing the state’s most popular retirement option to newly hired employees.

The report, called "Modernizing the FRS: Switching to a Defined Contribution Plan," recommends the state make the Florida Retirement System as competitive as the private sector's by solely having an investment plan retirement option, eliminating the state's pension plan.

Critics of the report, like public employee unions, say it’s flawed, since it came out ahead of a state study that would outline the financial impact of doing away with the state’s pension plan. But, Robert Weissert, the Vice President for Research and General Counsel with Florida TaxWatch, defended the report.

“This report is part of previous cost saving task forces, and this report is part of our continuing to educate the public on that debate and on that issue. We’re pleased that DMS [the Department of Management Services] has a report with additional actuarial numbers. But, that’s further information in this discussion. One doesn’t supplant the other," said Weissert.

The proposal to force new hires into a 401K type plan has yet to move forward as lawmakers await the results of a state Department of Management Services study commissioned by the Legislature that looks into the cost to taxpayers.

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