To the editor:
The Florida House advanced a bill Thursday to close the Florida Retirement System to public employees hired after next Jan. 1, requiring them to join investment systems similar to the 401(k) plans popular in the private sector.
Citing that retirement is "risky" for taxpayers, lawmakers argued that they need to do away with the current system, one of the most financially sound retirement systems in the country as a way to save money.
In fact, the exact opposite will occur if this bill passes.
Closing the plan to newly hired employees will result in the cost increasing, because fewer people are paying into the plan. The FRS is funded at about 87 percent, assets to liabilities, and anything over 80 percent is considered a healthy unfunded actuarial liability.
And since public servants in Florida earn far less than their counterparts up north, this bill leaves teachers, firefighters, and other public employees who have put in years of service, in a plan that will force many to work well past retirement age and having to rely on a risky investment market.
The question I have for my elected officials in Lee County is, "Why is destroying one of the healthiest retirement systems in the country is a priority of this House?