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Govt. Watchdog Group Defends Report Recommending Closure Of Pension Plan

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.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.