frs ruling is in

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frs ruling is in

Postby guest112 » 03/06/12 14:33:39

[url][/url]http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/blog/judge-jackie-fulford-says-state-pension-plan-unconstitutional
guest112
 

Judge rules Florida pension changes unconstitutional

Postby Guest » 03/06/12 15:08:51

http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/judge-rules-florida-pension-changes-unconstitutional/1218591#

Judge rules Florida pension changes unconstitutional

By Mary Ellen Klas, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Published Tuesday, March 6, 2012

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TALLAHASSEE — Leon County Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford ruled against the state of Florida on Tuesday, declaring unconstitutional a 2011 law that cut state worker salaries 3 percent, or $1 billion, and shifted the money into the state's pension fund.

If the ruling — which will be appealed — is upheld, lawmakers would be forced to repay state workers the $1 billion they started collecting July 1, 2011, and to plug a corresponding $1 billion budget hole.

Lawmakers would then have to cut an additional $1 billion from the $70 billion budget they are expected to pass this week.

In her ruling, Fulford said that she understands the "role of the judiciary is to interpret the law before it; not to make law" but to do that she would have had to ignore the law and added, "This court cannot set aside its constitutional obligations because a budget crisis exists in the State of Florida."

She ruled that the Legislature's action was "an unconstitutional impairment of plaintiff's contract with the State of Florida, an unconstitutional taking of private property without full compensation, and an abridgement of the rights of public employees to collectively bargain over conditions of employment.

"To find otherwise would mean that a contract with our state government has no meaning, and that the citizens of our state can place no trust in the work of our Legislature. Those are the findings this Court refuses to make."

The idea to force state workers to direct part of their paycheck toward their pension plan was a legislative priority of Gov. Rick Scott. He wanted workers to funnel 5 percent of their paychecks into the pension system; the Legislature ultimately agreed to require 3 percent contributions.

The Florida Education Association and other state and local government unions sued the state last year, and Fulford heard arguments in the case Oct. 25.

Republican lawmakers reacted swiftly to the decision.

"I am deeply disappointed in Judge Fulford's decision today," said Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merrit Island. She has proven once again that she is an activist judge who has no problem overstepping her authority and overruling the decisions of the state's elected representatives and the critical role that we play as the budget writers for the State of Florida."

"The ruling of a trial court judge is the first and not the final step," added House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park. "Today's ruling will have no immediate impact on the passage of the 2012-13 General Appropriations Act, which the House will take up this Friday in fulfillment of our constitutional responsibility to pass a balanced budget."

On Monday, Haridopolos said that if Fulford ruled against the state, there would be "chaos," and the state would appeal the ruling immediately.

Rep. Jim Waldman, a Coconut Creek Democrat and a lawyer, said he believed the state should start making plans to balance the budget without state employee contributions.

The Legislature "can't count on that 3 percent coming in this year,'' he said.
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Re: frs ruling is in

Postby idiots » 03/06/12 17:14:15

Florida is an "employment at will" state. Either side may terminate employment at any time. NO ONE has a lifetime compensation program guarantee with state employment. If the idiot judge tries to make law, all she will do is cause every employee in the state to be fired and asked if they would like to be be rehired under the new rules.

Liberal judges, lawyers, and politicians believe they are above a free market economic system and are hypocrites. JD Alexander tried to feather his own nest with public benefits and was seen as a political extortionist.
idiots
 

Re: frs ruling is in

Postby Not an idiot » 03/06/12 17:48:05

idiots wrote:Florida is an "employment at will" state. Either side may terminate employment at any time. NO ONE has a lifetime compensation program guarantee with state employment. If the idiot judge tries to make law, all she will do is cause every employee in the state to be fired and asked if they would like to be be rehired under the new rules.

Liberal judges, lawyers, and politicians believe they are above a free market economic system and are hypocrites. JD Alexander tried to feather his own nest with public benefits and was seen as a political extortionist.


You termed your moniker correctly. You are indeed the idiot. Florida is a right to work state BUT when the state agrees to a collective bargaining contract...read CONTRACT...the State simply can't change the terms arbitrarily. I know that I used some pretty big words there...look them up.
When you're out on the streets without a job or benefits that you were promised...you might change your conservative to all ends attitude idiot.
You're believing too much Lumbaugh...idiot.
:lol:
Not an idiot
 

Re: frs ruling is in

Postby Guest » 03/06/12 18:07:10

idiots wrote:Florida is an "employment at will" state. Either side may terminate employment at any time. NO ONE has a lifetime compensation program guarantee with state employment. If the idiot judge tries to make law, all she will do is cause every employee in the state to be fired and asked if they would like to be be rehired under the new rules.

Liberal judges, lawyers, and politicians believe they are above a free market economic system and are hypocrites. JD Alexander tried to feather his own nest with public benefits and was seen as a political extortionist.


You are the idiot. If you want to live in a communist country move to CHINA. Just because we are public workers doesn't mean we have no rights. You can't just fire someone without cause. You can do layoffs but that only means first to get hired last to get fired. Most private sector employees don't work 24 years and get told in the end to pound sand. I could care less about you idiot extremist who think you can change the rules in the last minute so millionaires like Rick Scott can become billionaires. Corporate tax cuts for the rich might be ok with you but not for the rest of us. Your mentality is not different then Hugo Chavez but in the opposite spectrum. Guess what fool? April 1, I go to DROP and when that lawsuit is settled. I will be getting 2,000 dollars back with interest. So, it's just another savings account fool.

P.S. It's amazing you tea baggers talk so much about the consitution when it favors you but when it doesn't you cry like little bitches.
Guest
 

Re: frs ruling is in

Postby Guest » 03/06/12 19:38:27

A sound judicial ruling by an intelligent judge:

In her ruling, Fulford said that she understands the "role of the judiciary is to interpret the law before it; not to make law" but to do that she would have had to ignore the law and added, "This court cannot set aside its constitutional obligations because a budget crisis exists in the State of Florida."

She ruled that the Legislature's action was "an unconstitutional impairment of plaintiff's contract with the State of Florida, an unconstitutional taking of private property without full compensation, and an abridgement of the rights of public employees to collectively bargain over conditions of employment.

"To find otherwise would mean that a contract with our state government has no meaning, and that the citizens of our state can place no trust in the work of our Legislature. Those are the findings this Court refuses to make."


On the other hand, some shameful political hubris:

"I am deeply disappointed in Judge Fulford's decision today," said Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merrit Island. She has proven once again that she is an activist judge who has no problem overstepping her authority and overruling the decisions of the state's elected representatives and the critical role that we play as the budget writers for the State of Florida."

"The ruling of a trial court judge is the first and not the final step," added House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park. "Today's ruling will have no immediate impact on the passage of the 2012-13 General Appropriations Act, which the House will take up this Friday in fulfillment of our constitutional responsibility to pass a balanced budget."

On Monday, Haridopolos said that if Fulford ruled against the state, there would be "chaos," and the state would appeal the ruling immediately.
Guest
 

Re: frs ruling is in

Postby 5223 » 03/06/12 23:16:13

idiots wrote:Florida is an "employment at will" state. Either side may terminate employment at any time. NO ONE has a lifetime compensation program guarantee with state employment. If the idiot judge tries to make law, all she will do is cause every employee in the state to be fired and asked if they would like to be be rehired under the new rules.

Liberal judges, lawyers, and politicians believe they are above a free market economic system and are hypocrites. JD Alexander tried to feather his own nest with public benefits and was seen as a political extortionist.


the judge was not trying to make a law. she said the current law was unconstiutional. here is the law for the pension system

Statue 121.011 (3) (d) The rights of members of the retirement system established by this chapter shall not be impaired by virtue of the conversion of the Florida Retirement System to an employee noncontributory system. As of July 1, 1974, the rights of members of the retirement system established by this chapter are declared to be of a contractual nature, entered into between the member and the state, and such rights shall be legally enforceable as valid contract rights and shall not be abridged in any way.

this is a contract and the state can be sued for breach
5223
 

Re: frs ruling is in

Postby Guest » 03/07/12 07:35:47

Yea, if you read this, it says that Haricockolick is making sure the state appeals. But he is already 100 percent vested so he doesn't give a hairy rats ass.
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Re: frs ruling is in

Postby R Scott » 03/07/12 08:11:51

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"I'll get you my pretty. Stand by for the appeal. One way or the other, you'll pay."
R Scott
 

Re: frs ruling is in

Postby Guest » 03/07/12 11:00:25

The gov's quote: "Think of the adverse impact it has on our state, that plan is getting more unfunded every year".

So.... taking 3% from the employees, instead of from the employers somehow increases the funding of the plan?????? 3% = 3% no matter which source provides the funding....

"The lie told often enough, ultimately becomes the truth"....

Shame on the liar politicians!




http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/gubernatorial/breaking-down-judges-ruling-against-floridas-pension-law/1218683#


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Breaking down judge's ruling against Florida's pension law

By Aaron Sharockman, Times Staff Writer

Published Tuesday, March 6, 2012

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What happened?

Leon County Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford ruled Tuesday that the state's 2011 law requiring that members of the Florida Retirement System contribute 3 percent of their salaries to the pension fund unconstitutionally breached the contract with existing employees.

She ruled that the Legislature's action was "an unconstitutional impairment of plaintiff's contract with the State of Florida, an unconstitutional taking of private property without full compensation, and an abridgement of the rights of public employees to collectively bargain over conditions of employment." Fulford also found unconstitutional a piece of the law that lowered cost-of-living adjustments retirees received.

The ruling applies to government workers who were members of the Florida Retirement System before July 1, 2011.



Who was forced to contribute 3 percent of their salaries to pensions?

All public employees enrolled in the Florida Retirement System, which covers employees of the state, school districts, counties, public universities and community colleges, 182 cities and 231 special districts.



How many people is that?

560,000 working Floridians, from teachers to corrections officers.



Why did the Legislature require workers to direct part of their salary to the state retirement system?

Lawmakers have considered making government workers pay into the retirement system before, but the idea gained momentum in 2011 because it was a top priority of Gov. Rick Scott. Scott originally wanted workers to contribute 5 percent of their salary; lawmakers settled on 3 percent.

The law that was adopted made other changes to the state retirement system, including raising the retirement age for new workers. The lawsuit doesn't affect workers hired after July 1, 2011.

Wasn't it a campaign promise of Gov. Rick Scott to have state workers contribute to their pensions? What does he say about the ruling?

"I don't understand the ruling. It doesn't make any sense to me," Scott said Tuesday night. "We are appealing it and I'm sure it will be held constitutional, but think of the adverse impact it has on our state. . . . That plan is getting more unfunded every year."


Scott promised during the campaign to align employee contributions with other states, most of which require employees to direct a portion of their paycheck toward their retirement plan.



What's the immediate impact on the state budget lawmakers are completing this week for the 2012-13 year?

If the state appeals, as Scott has promised, there will be an automatic stay — which means the state will not be forced to return employee contributions or fill a corresponding budget hole.

House and Senate leaders say there will be no immediate impact on the budget they are scheduled to vote on Friday.



Who would hear the appeal?

The case would be appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee. It likely would then be heard by the Florida Supreme Court.



If the ruling stands, will the state have to pay back workers what they've contributed since the law went into effect July 1, 2011?

Yes, the judge ordered payback with interest.



Who is this judge?

Fulford, a Republican, was appointed to the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in 2009 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. She previously served as chief assistant state attorney for the circuit, which covers Tallahassee and six Panhandle counties. Fulford graduated from Stetson College of Law. In 2011, she struck down a legislative proposal to privatize prisons and work camps in 18 South Florida counties.

Times/Herald staff writer Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.
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Re: frs ruling is in

Postby Vegetius » 03/07/12 19:33:04

These politicians are scandalous liars. They steal from us every day, year after year. They make law to get what they want, and screw everyone else.

I bet the next step will be for them to try to amend the state's constitution so that they can follow-up by re-implement the FRS changes, without the risk of being called "unconstitutional"

Haridopolous called Judge Fulford an activist; if she's an activist, she's an activist for the law, as it is written. She called them on their BS, and told them they cannot do whatever they please. Obviously, the senate is not happy with her ruling, to which they have reacted like school children who have been publicly scolded.

Shame on the senate. Shame on the SBA. Shame on this Governor who has treated this state as his own personal corporation. He has failed the people of this state from the day he was sworn in. He has cost the state millions as it is, and the deficit will continue to grow in his efforts to fatten the pockets of his friends and colleagues, all the while not forgetting to fatten his own.

He and the rest of the right-wing nuts are using political movements to disguise their true intentions. The unassuming citizenry who voted for these people will never see the false promises offered them. In 2008 it was Obama who won the same way, and where has it left the masses? This travesty in the State of Florida is simply the equal but opposite reaction to that campaign...Newton was right.

Now it is the time for us to continue to stand united against these fraudsters. The next election will be a critical one; all of our enemies must be voted out. We cannot, and will not stand for such egregious treatment of the workforce.

Non timebo mala.
Vegetius
 

Rick Scott says state pension fund is "not funded"

Postby Guest » 03/08/12 10:51:22

http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2012/mar/07/rick-scott/rick-scott-says-state-pension-fund-not-funded/

The Truth-O-Meter Says:

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"Today, you can't rely on (the retirement fund for public employees), it's not funded."

Rick Scott on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 in a press conference



Rick Scott says state pension fund is "not funded"



Gov. Rick Scott made no secret of his distaste for a judge’s decision to overturn a 3 percent cut in state workers’ salaries on March 6, 2012.

Lawmakers in 2011 touted the cut as necessary; they said they were diverting the money to shore up the $124 billion pension fund for state and local employees. The change saved the state $1 billion and local governments $600 million, reported the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford’s decision throws that plan into chaos. She ruled the pay cut an unconstitutional breach of the state's contract with employees and ordered the money returned with interest.

Fulford noted in her order that the 3-percent salary reduction did not actually go toward the retirement fund; legislators used it to balance the budget and left $1.2 billion unspent.

Her decision didn't sit well with Scott.

"This is an example of a judge wanting to write the law. We all know that this is constitutional, there's no question about it," Scott told reporters.

"I want to make sure we fix the plan so individuals can actually rely on it. Because today, you can't rely on that plan, it's not funded," he said. "So it's going to have a big impact on our counties, it has a big impact on our state budget. But it's clearly constitutional."

We’ve heard alarming things about Florida’s pension fund over the years, but never that it is flatly not funded. PolitiFact Florida wanted to set the record straight on how the Florida Retirement System works.

The truth is that Florida’s pension fund is funded. Is it fully funded? No, but that’s not typical for most state pension funds.

The most recent data shows the pension’s worth versus what it owes in benefits is 87.5 percent, as of June 30, 2011. So if everyone in the pension system retired at once, there would not be enough money in the retirement system to pay their full benefits.

Still, 87 percent isn’t bad compared to most states. The average level is 77 percent.

"87 (percent) is a strong funding level, particularly given the difficult financial market over recent years," said Keith Brainard, research director of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.


Scott spokesman Lane Wright said we were nit-picking the governor’s statement and that he obviously just misspoke. Wright pointed us to past stories on the pension from our site and the Tampa Bay Times, where Scott correctly asserts the retirement system is underfunded.

What’s more, Wright said, is that Scott’s office for a few months has been occupied by a big chart comparing the pension fund’s liabilities, assets and payments. His graphic correctly shows the plan as funded at 87.5 percent for fiscal year 2010-11. It also shows how that liability has grown since 2007-08.


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"He’s had that chart there since at least the beginning of January," Wright said.

Not long before storing a daily reminder of the liability gap in his office, Scott attempted to address it in his 2011-12 budget proposal. He called for $300 million to go into the retirement system, including an additional $120 million to address the liability on top of fully funding the normal annual contribution.

In his response to the judge’s ruling, though, Scott’s warning was stark, saying "I want to make sure we fix the plan so individuals can actually rely on it. Because today, you can't rely on that plan, it's not funded." That sounds really bad to people who are relying on state benefits. The truth is, it's one of the better funded pension plans in the country. If all public employees retired tomorrow, they still get 87.5 percent of what they were owed. We rate his statement False.
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Re: frs ruling is in

Postby SWFL Trooper » 03/08/12 13:34:26

Even if the state loses the FRS 3% case, they will make up for it with the cuts that they are making to those in the investment plan this year. According to the FRS website, the proposal on the table is to cut the state contribution for high risk employees down to 11% for those in the investment plan. 2 years ago, the state contributed 20% for high risk. This past year the state contributed 17% and the employees contributed 3%. Now they are trying to cut their contribution down to 11%!!! If they don't get you one way, they'll get you another. When I made my initial election in the FRS, the choice was the traditional pension plan with a 3% multiplier and 3% cola after retirement, OR the investment plan with a 20% contribution. If I had known that the state wouldn't honor their end of the deal and would cut their contribution nearly in half, I would have chosen the traditional plan. Talk about a breach of contract!!! For those that want facts, go to myfrs.com and look it up on column on the left side of the web page.
SWFL Trooper
 

Re: frs ruling is in

Postby Guest » 03/09/12 06:19:06

Sounds like those in the investment plan should have left when they were all millionaires. Now they're going to get screwed further by hanging around and never have enough to leave :( Then again, there is something to be said for working your entire life for somebody that cares so much about you and your family. :snicker:
Guest
 

Re: frs ruling is in

Postby Guest » 03/09/12 10:06:20

I fear that another problem may be what happens if/when this ruling is upheld and the state is potentially ordered to actually pay back all the money taken from employees...

The easy and correct solution is for FRS to raise the employer contribution rates to recover the money that needs to be repaid... but I'm guessing that all the great politicians and gov. will instead start a political rant, screaming about the "fiscal crisis" caused by the scummy state employees "bankrupting the state", and will start attacking the HIS, the COLA, further reduce the DC plan rate, the need for "mass layoffs to pay for this rip-off by state workers", etc...

We already know that they are not truthful about the pension system and I bet they will want to really punish the state employees for "beating them in court".
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