TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A proposal to end guaranteed pensions for new teachers, state and county workers and other public employees began moving through the Florida Legislature on Thursday.

A House panel voted to introduce a committee bill that would replace traditional defined benefit pensions with individual investment accounts similar to 401(k) plans for employees hired after Jan. 1, 2014. It would shift investment risk from employers to employees, a growing trend in the private sector. Benefits can vary widely depending upon the performance of investments each employee chooses. The bill also would end disability benefits for new employees.

The measure is a top priority for Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislative leaders. It cleared the Government Operations Subcommittee on a party-line 9-3 vote.

Republicans and business groups that support the measure contended the switch would save taxpayers money. Democrats, union officials and other critics argued it would have the opposite result.

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