All active news articles
Judge Tosses State Employee Pension Rules
March 07, 2012 | WMFE - A Tallahassee judge has overturned the state's requirement for public employees to contribute three percent of their wages to their retirement funds. The judge ruled that the mandate passed by the state Legislature last year is a violation of the state worker's collective bargaining rights. Public employee union are hailing it as a victory for worker's rights but Senate President Mike Haridopolos says it could cost the state a billion dollars a year and Governor Rick Scott says the state will immediately appeal the decision.
“That three percent, that's gas money every month and it adds up over time.” Vinson said.
Until July 1, when the deductions began, Cheryl had paid nothing into the state retirement system. Nobody had, not since 1974 when the Legislature declared it had a contract with public employees that required cost-free retirement with cost of living adjustments for all.
"The court today said that a promise is a promise, a contract is a contract and even the governor and the legislature have to live up to the covenants they enter into.” Meyer said.
Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford ordered the paycheck deductions to stop and the collected money returned with interest.
“They've decided over and over to provide tax relief to big corporations, the people who put contributions in their campaigns and it needs to stop.” Ford said. “Its time to fund the services of Florida.”
Regarding what changes might happen immediately, The plaintiff’s Ron Meyer said he's expecting the paycheck deductions to stop right away. But they may continue while the state appeals the decision. House Speaker Dean Cannon is confident the ruling will be undone in the District Court of Appeal, the DCA.
‘I expect the first DCA, which tends to be more familiar with these power-of-government issues, to render a better opinion.” Cannon said
What will not change is that workers hired after July 1, 2011, the day the law took effect, will continue to pay three percent of their salaries toward their pensions, no matter how the case turns out. The judge said the state had no contract with them.