Florida legislators are once again pulling out the “Retirement Systems: Killing America playbook” to cause fear and unrest in order to deflect the real issues facing our state. Claiming the need to resolve Florida’s economic crisis, they want to close the Florida Retirement System — a retirement program that in the governor’s own words is one of the best run retirement plans in the nation — and allow the investors on shady street to do the same thing Washington legislators allowed them to do on Wall Street: gamble with the savings of Florida’s workers.
While legislators continue to claim that closing one of the nation’s best retirement systems is good public policy, they fail to mention that doing so will push unfunded mandates down on local governments causing higher contribution rates which will result in higher taxes and fewer services.
Floridians need to ask themselves what are the state’s priorities? Do we really want to lead the nation in gun permits rather than high school graduates? Are higher taxes really keeping first-time home buyers from achieving the American Dream, not the 100 percent increase in home owner insurance rates when we haven’t had more than a thunderstorm since 2005?
While large insurance corporations continue to line the pockets of our legislators, the rest are left with making a choice: Pay higher deductibles to care for loved ones, or risk their well being in order to pay the higher cost of gas? Do we not see that this philosophical issue has pitted American worker against American worker while politicians continue to cater to shady street investors and insurance lobbyists?
No worries, though. Teachers will continue to teach, law enforcement will continue to fight crime, and fire rescue personnel will continue to respond to your everyday emergencies all while legislators convince you that their “playbook” will help Floridians keep gas in their car, a roof over their heads, and health insurance for their families.
John K. McNamara, president, Broward County Council of Professional Fire Fighters, Pompano Beach