Florida Police Benevolent Association Joins Pension Lawsuit; Rick Scott Doesn't Budge

Apparently everyone wants a chance to sue Rick Scott.

The Florida Police Benevolent Association filed a third-party intervention today to join 11 others in state government to sue Gov. Scott and several other state department heads over the new law mandating that 3 percent of salaries for employees enrolled in the Florida Retirement System count as "contributions" to their retirement benefits.

Originally filed by the Florida Education Association, the lawsuit alleges that the mandatory contributions -- essentially a 3 percent pay cut to state employees -- violates the state constitution, which has mandated that the retirement system remain noncontributory since July 1, 1974.

For those keeping score at home, this is the second time this month a chapter of the Police Benevolent Association has bucked the governor, since the Broward PBA announced its "Party to Leave the Party" a couple of weeks back.

Now with all the buzz surrounding the lawsuit and more hopping onboard, Gov. Scott remains unfazed.

"The participation by people in their pension plan makes all the sense in the world," Scott told TampaBay.com. "It's what's fair to the private sector. Very few private-sector employees have a pension plan that is 100 percent. It's the right thing to do for our state."

In response to a question about the unconstitutionality of the new law, Scott said: "No, no. It's the right thing to do for the state."

If it's the right thing to do for the state, then the FEA lawsuit alleges that Scott advocates lying to state employees -- aside from the possibly unconstitutionality of the law, employees entered into a contract with their pension plan that didn't require mandatory contributions.

"It is essentially an income tax levied only on workers belonging to the Florida Retirement System," Florida Education Association President Andy Ford said this morning. "It's unfair -- and it breaks promises made to these employees when they chose to work to improve our state."

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley