Firefighter's Pension Under Fire
"Instead of retiring at 55 or 60, we could be working well into 70, and I don't know how many tax payers want a 70-year-old firefighter coming to pull them out of a car, or a house," said Gainesville Fire Rescue Lt. Tim Bowen.
Two Florida Senate bills, which will be voted on in March, could have significant effects on the retirement plans for the 25,000 state firefighters and EMS workers.
"The original goal of the bills was to have the employees make a contribution, and require employees to work longer so they would draw less in their retirement years," said Jim Tolley, Governmental Relations Director for Florida Professional Firefighters.
If passed, Senate bill 1128, would do away with a city's current pension plan offered to firefighters and police officers.
"We have all been contributing to our pension since day one, each member contributes 7.5 percent of his pay, every pay period, and we do that for 25, 30 years," said Bowen.
Senate bill 1130 may significantly change the Florida retirement system... which is tied to almost a million state and county employees.
"We may have a payroll deduction of anywhere we've heard from 2 percent or 5 percent, we're not sure yet," said Brett Sandlin, Fire Rescue Professionals of Alachua County President.
Florida firefighters government relations representative Jim Tolley says there is hope--- over the past week, senators have been workshoping the amendments.
"We are willing to make contributions and make benefit changes to preserve the plan, but by law, eliminating the plans entirely we think is the wrong way to go, and it just applies known costs to future generations," he said.
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