Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fla.'s 3% tax on state workers is official

The Florida Supreme Court ruled today against state workers and upheld a 3 percent income tax on public employees' pensions. It was imposed by the leadership of the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.

(By the way, this is how big a jerk Rick Scott is: He rescued a Golden Lab from a shelter, named it Reagan, paraded him in front of the news media during his campaign, and then gave Reagan back to the shelter when the campaign was over.)

The decision amounts to a 3 percent pay cut to all teachers, firefighters, first responders, and public employees.

The decision is a blow to the 25,000 Florida public workers represented by the Teamsters. International Vice President Ken Wood issued a statement today saying he is disappointed that Florida’s Supreme Court overturned years of precedent in the way the state’s pensions are funded.
“The promises made to our public services employees are promises that should be kept,” said Ken Wood, Teamsters Joint Council 75 president. 
Wood said Teamster attorneys will review the decision before deciding on next steps. 
“Pensions are simply deferred wages, and it is in Florida’s interest to make sure that the workers who transport our children to school, protect our communities and perform essential public services can retire in dignity and modest comfort,” Wood said. 
Teamsters represent 25,000 city, county, state and federal workers, including those employed by the Florida Department of Corrections, the Osceola County School District, the City of Ft. Lauderdale and the Jacksonville Naval Fleet Readiness Center.
Florida state employees have received no raises or tiny raises over the past four years. Some have been laid off. They all pay more for health insurance. It's all because the Legislature irresponsibly gave big tax breaks to billionaires and corporations, creating a budget shortfall.

Isn't it time to stop blaming government workers for budget problems caused by multibillion dollars tax giveaways?