Pension fight heats up again - 8/25/14

Pension reform seems further away than ever, despite legislation hammered out by cities and police and firefighter unions in 2014, according to Dan Sweeney of The Sun Sentinel.

Sen. Jeremy Ring, D- Margate, was instrumental in getting the 2014 agreement to pass the Senate, but the plan failed to gain traction in the more conservative House.

Ring told the Sentinel, "After four years and thousands of manhours, we came up with an agreement," and that "the bill basically said that cities and unions had to come to an agreement and if they couldn't, certain triggers would happen that neither group would like."

Ring said he plans to refile the bill again this March, but now the League of Cities has joined with a host of conservative advocacy groups to create a new coalition to forge a new path ahead- Taxpayers for Sustainable Pensions. The group did not reach out to Ring or the unions before announcing its existence at a press conference Aug.

Ring was flabbergasted and upset. He vowed to give them equal consideration.
"If they put a report on my desk, I'll put it right in the trash," Ring said.

Morgan McCord, spokesperson for Florida TaxWatch, said, "We started to put together the coalition at the end of the legislative session when it became apparent that the local pension bill was not going to pass."

The eight-member coalition includes business interest groups -- the Florida Chamber Foundation, Associated Industries of Florida and the National Foundation of Independent Business -- as well as Americans for Prosperity, R Street Institute, the League of Cities and Florida TaxWatch.