TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Gov. Rick Scott and Republicans in the Legislature are still unhappy with a judge’s decision to strike down last year’s pension overhaul, with the Senate budget chief declining to rule out defying a court order to repay state employees.

Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford ruled Tuesday that a new law requiring state employees hired before July 1, 2011, to contribute 3 percent to their retirement fund was unconstitutional and violated a state law that essentially declares the pension plan to be a contract between the Legislature and employees.

Fulford said the state should repay the workers the contributions with interest. But Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said Wednesday he didn’t think the judge had the authority to force the Legislature to do so — and left open the possibility that it might not.

“This is a very political decision by a very political judge that I think flies in the face of state Supreme Court rulings that clearly affirm the absolute, constitutional authority of the Legislature to make budget decisions,” Alexander said.

Asked if he thought lawmakers should defy the ruling if it were upheld by the Supreme Court, Alexander responded: “I do not believe any court has the authority to dictate how the Legislature spends its money — any court, any executive branch, anybody.” In a radio interview, Scott expressed wonderment at Fulford’s ruling.

“She’s saying this is the law of the land — there’s no way it’s the law of the land,” he said. “The pension fund is dramatically underfunded.” The contributions were used to plug holes in this year’s state budget and are also a part of the spending plan for the next budget year, which begins July 1.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”


Comments (5)
  1. ConcernedCitizen says:

    Then I believe that the state should say the state pension fund is being dissolved and those with money in it should reinvest in other funds, that the state can no longer afford it and they are on their own. People just believe they are entitled to everything. These are tough times, states need to function otherwise go bankrupt and you all would be out of a job. There are lots of people out there looking and would love to take you place for alot less than you are getting. Think on that before you push this issue. You work for the state, the state does not owe you a job, this is an at will state and at will mean at your will or at theirs.

    1. SheilaMeila says:

      We don’t think we’re entitled to anything more than you. I’ll bet your boss doesn’t tell you what you have to pay into your pension, you get to choose that percentage yourself… Wish I was given that choice but for some reason the refublicans and Rick Skelator don’t think we should have the same rights that people in the private sector have…

  2. IhateRicky Scott says:

    Let’s see the evidence of what holes were filled with these funds. Don’t fall for the smoke and mirror ploy the government likes to display. Also before anyone says that they are tired of their taxes paying for these pensions, all that were being docked also pay same taxes.

  3. jw says:

    I’m glad that repuglicans are “unhappy” with a judicial finding. These regressives believe that the judicial branch of government must kow-tow to the legislative and executive branches based on their unrealistic and extremist agendas.

  4. Marie says:

    The contributions were used to plug holes in this year’s state budget and are also a part of the spending plan for the next budget year, which begins July 1.

    This is the very thing that has almost wiped out Social Security. My boss can’t do that. The $$ in the 401 is mine, he can not take from it at will or any other way. Why is the governement allowed to do that?

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