Fla. House Not Deterred By Senate’s Lack Of Enthusiasm For State Pension Overhaul

Jan 29, 2015

Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner speaking to reporters Wednesday in Tallahassee.
Credit Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

While the Senate doesn’t look like it will consider an overhaul of the Florida Retirement System, the House is not giving up hope it can convince the other chamber.

Last year, the state pension overhaul bill failed, after it got tied to a non-controversial effort to fix local pension programs affecting police and firefighters. But, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli says his chamber is not deterred, and is already looking to file a separate state pension reform proposal.

“We are working on some proposals for an overhaul,” said Crisafulli. “Obviously we’ve tried to do this in the past. This is an issue that’s obviously very controversial. I’m somebody that believes something needs to be done. I don’t believe currently that system works. I look at things from a business perspective and when I look across the country, and look at the fortune 100 companies that have all switched from defined contribution plans, it’s kind of hard for me to believe the state of Florida needs to continue to go on the path we’re going on.”

And, Crisafulli says the House will also be working to attract Senators to the state pension reform cause.

“So, in the House, we’ll have that conversation,” said Crisafulli. “Obviously, we have the chamber across the hall with our Senate partners that we need to work on this conversation as well as the Governor. And, it would certainly be my hope we’ll have a conversation on it. But, it’s certainly not a joint priority between the House and Senate.”

And, Senate President Andy Gardiner agreed. He says while there’s still overwhelming support for the local pension fix in his chamber, the votes are still not there for state pension reform.

“You know, the votes haven’t really changed much in the Senate,” said Gardiner. “Clearly the statewide fix is a little bit more of a challenge. I’m a former Majority leader, and so you start getting into those counts. And, so, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Meanwhile, the local pension bill has already unanimously passed its first committee stop.

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