Florida Supreme Court will hear pension reform case

The Florida Supreme Court will decide if changes made to the state’s public employee pension system violated workers’ constitutional rights.

The state legislature passed changes that would save $1 billion in pension expenses, including requiring workers to contribute 3 percent of their pay and eliminating the cost-of-living adjustment for employees retiring after the law took effect, according to a story in Bloomberg.

The state was facing a $3.6 billion budget shortfall in 2011 when Republican lawmakers decided to overhaul the system.

Workers claim the pension reform measure “amounted to an illegal salary cut and a violation of collective-bargaining rights under existing union contracts,” the story stated.

A Florida circuit judge ruled in March that the pension law violated the state’s agreements with government employees and ordered contributions returned with interest.

If the Supreme Court agrees with the circuit judge’s decision, the state will have to find other ways to fix its budget, the story said.


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