There is a lot of communication within the media today that is stating the State of Florida is over spending in the FRS system and that the people who are public employees are receiving something for nothing. Further, the rhetoric from the far right Tea Party followers is saying that it is time the public workers gave back for all the years they have taken.
If I may be so bold as to spell out the process for everyone. First and foremost, what the public employee receives is their base pay. Within the public sector, this base pay is less than their counterpart in the public realm. Then, many of the public employees receive their pension pay. This is not an optional amount of money, this is a simple percentage of their total pay, and it is placed into a fund. This fund is most often the State funded, Florida Retirement System (FRS). The employee is not able to access that money, and or use it until they formally retire and arrive at the State mandated retirement age. Further, many employees receive some form of a health care plan. Some receive full care; others pay a small amount into the system.
If I am to use this example for myself, I receive $42,750 per year for my pay. I then receive $4,081 for the year in pension pay, and another $5,700 for my health care. The Tea Party that is running Florida in 2011 may say that as a teacher of ten years, I receive $52,531. Yet this is not the truth. The truth of the matter is I receive a total take home pay of $42,750 before taxes.
The State of Florida would like me to consider that their plan is going to save us all money. In this plan, they will take my base pay of $42,750 and deduct 5% into the FRS. This means I will be paid $2137.50 less, or a take home pay of $40,612. If I am to add in my Insurance (if I am allowed to still receive this) I get a total take home pay of $46,312. In year one of this program I lose $6000. What is the lifetime accumulative total for my loss.
Once again, the people that are running the State are doing so without regard for the people that voted them into office, they are simply creating math to save themselves.
Today, Governor Scott stated that without saving the FRS we are sure to fail. There is not specific truth to this, yet he created numbers to prove it. To the members of the House and Senate: It is your job to maintain balance. You have taken the time to follow a party line of hard, very far right minded concepts, which, historically destroys the people. Anytime something leans too far over, the world will find a way to balance itself out, yet the results are often more tumultuous than what got us there.
First an education bill with unfunded mandates, then destroy Unions without any true reason other than due process, and now this. 2011 is not going to lead to a successful 2012 if, as Republicans we don't practice what we preach, and offer good government. It is time to lead properly, be fair and responsible, and don't follow a party line…follow the line of the people who voted you into office.
On a final note, this is how Rome Fell, and we are not Rome, we are Florida.