About The Coalition



Taxpayers for Sustainable Pensions is a coalition of individual policy groups dedicated to municipal pension reform efforts across the state. Coalition members are committed to researching solutions to Florida’s municipal pension problems and working with key stakeholders to achieve reform. In addition to research, coalition members are focused on raising awareness in local communities through the distribution of research materials and by speaking to civic groups around the state. If you would like members of Taxpayers for Sustainable Pensions to speak to your group, contact
Joe Follick at 850-212-5052.

Read the News Release Announcing the Coalition

Coalition Partners


Coalition Goals

  1. Ensure Florida public pensions are sustainable, affordable, and fair.
  2. Empower local communities to set pension benefit levels that ensure a city can offer an appropriately competitive salary and benefits package to employees based on what the city can afford.
  3. Uphold the promises made to current pensioners and protect benefits already earned by ensuring pension plan costs are manageable

The coalition supports reform policies that:

  1. Eliminate legislatively created unfunded mandates, such as the 1999 pension benefit “giveaway”, to ensure local investment is not required to fund public pension benefits at the expense of other municipal services.
  2. Appropriately fund retirement benefits and ensure new costs are funded.
  3. Cap the taxpayer contribution cost of government pension benefits.

 

The Problem

The Mandates

Florida cities have little control over the skyrocketing benefit costs because of a state mandate that requires for cities to pay for more benefits than they can afford. A bill passed in 1999 amended Florida Statutes 175 and 185, which govern local firefighter and police officer pensions. The new law set minimum pension benefit levels that all cities now had to comply with. This new floor significantly increased costs for Florida cities, but it didn’t stop there. Florida cities also had to use extra Insurance Premium Tax money from the state to pay for “extra benefits” for employees, even with an underfunded pension plan.

The Consequences

The cost of public pensions continues to increase for municipal governments around Florida and the taxpayers who fund them. The benefits some cities are paying to their retired employees are so high that many of them are facing tough choices in their city budgets. 

Cities can’t afford to set aside money for their pension benefit obligations and continue to provide the same quality of services without raising taxes, and increasing costs to local taxpayers.

What Next?

For the last 15 years, these legislative mandates have dramatically increased the cost of public pensions and levied a huge amount of risk on the taxpayers of Florida. Many cities are feeling the pressure that these mounting pension costs are wrecking on their budgets, and Florida is running out of time to fix the situation. This year, lawmakers will once again try to solve the growing debt problem that is eating up local budgets. Florida taxpayers should educate themselves about the costs in their community so they aren’t squeezed out of the deal they’re paying for.

What They're Saying

Robert E. Weissert

Chief Research Officer & General Counsel
Florida TaxWatch

"Too many Florida cities are facing a bill they cannot pay without reducing public services or increasing taxes. Our hardworking taxpayers and local government workers deserve a sustainable pension system that cities and their residents can afford. As government pensions become more generous, even surpassing pensions given to military retirees, they have plunged Florida's municipalities into nearly $11 billion in debt that future taxpayers will be forced to pay. Taxpayers for Sustainable Pensions is determined to find a solution to protect Florida's taxpayers from underfunded, unfair and unsustainable pension mandates that leave Florida cities vulnerable to debt and even bankruptcy." 

Speaker Tom Feeney

President & CEO
Associated Industries of Florida

"Florida's long-term financial security and long-term economic growth of controlling pension obligations for local public workers is essential," said AIF President & CEO Tom Feeney. "We are proud to be a part of the Taxpayers for Sustainable Pensions Coalition and look forward to working toward the common goal of improving the health of local pension plans."

Abigail MacIver

Deputy State Director
Americans for Prosperity - Florida

"Government pension liabilities are one of the most significant issues facing our local governments and taxpayers, yet self-interested parties continue to try and sweep the issue under the rug. It's important that taxpayers learn the truth about the risk unfunded pension plans pose and that there are real solutions that can be implemented that will protect taxpayers as well as dedicated government workers. The risk we have already accumulated will impact Florida's families and businesses for generations and our local governments simply cannot afford to ignore the problem anymore." 

Scott Dudley

Director of Legislative Affairs
Florida League of Cities

The Florida League of Cities and its 410 member cities are proud to stand with such a broad and diverse coalition of interests, all seeking to fix Florida's municipal police and firefighter pension system. Florida's cities respect and honor our first responders and want to ensure that the pensions they have been promised are there for them when they are ready to retire. The legislature has imposed mandates on cities that have made municipal police and firefighter pensions unsustainable in the long run. Unless and until the legislature repeals the existing mandates that have cost Florida's taxpayers over $550 million since 1999, cities will continue to struggle to make good on their promise to these first responders. 

State Senator Wilton Simpson

Florida State Senate

At this point, the best thing we can probably do is – because of the opposing forces – is to allow a Detroit-type moment to happen and then fix it from there.”

Bill Herrle

Florida Executive Director
National Federation of Independent Business

"An unhealthy local pension system is potentially harmful to the long-term well-being of our state, and finding a solution has been challenging because there are so many stakeholders. Reforming the municipal pension system is critical to ensuring that Florida's economy continues to grow and flourish, and protecting the taxpayers is key. We're looking forward to bringing the voices of our members - small business owners and taxpayers - to the table to find a responsible and sustainable solution to this challenge." 

Leticia Adams

Director of Infrastructure and Governance Policy
Florida Chamber of Commerce

"Creating fiscally stable state and local governments through modernized and sustainable retirement systems helps avoid a bankrupt future too many state and local governments currently face. Securing public pensions and protecting taxpayers will help avoid the damage that unfunded pension programs can have - broken promises, lost jobs, higher taxes and fees and a diminished economy."

Christian Camara

Florida Director
R Street Institute

"Many state and local governments around the country are grappling with the quickly rising costs of their pensions and retiree benefits. Some have had to sacrifice funding for key government services such as education, roads, and public safety just to remain solvent. Without some commonsense reforms, many of Florida's local governments will be forced to make similar concessions in the near future, which will hurt residents and put Florida's economy at risk."

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106 N. BRONOUGH ST., TALLAHASSEE, FL 32301     |     TEL: 850.222.5052     |     FAX: 850.222.7476
106 N. BRONOUGH ST., TALLAHASSEE, FL 32301
TEL: 850.222.5052     |     FAX: 850.222.7476

Media Inquiries:  Contact Leah Courtney by Email or Phone: 850.212.5052

Media Inquiries:
Contact Leah Courtney by Email
or Phone: 850.212.5052