JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - We’re hearing from a taxpayer watchdog association that says like many other places in the country, pensions here in Jacksonville are too high, and if reform isn’t realized soon, pension checks will stop coming altogether.
"We have to ask what lawmakers are trying to hide by not releasing pension numbers here in Florida," says Taxpayers United of America director of outreach Rae Ann McNeilly.
The study took actual government salaries provided by the state and estimated based on that salary how much each state employee would make per year and in his or her lifetime in pension payments. McNeilly says the state refused to release actual government pension figures.
According to TUA, school superintendent Ed Pratt Dannals, for example, stands to get just under $5 million in lifetime pension payout, making for an estimated $153,410 a year pension payout that taxpayers are funding. Cindy Laquidara, the city general counsel, will get nearly 4 million in lifetime pension. TUA director of outreach Rae Ann McNeilly says this is evidence that pension reform should be pushed through legislatures, and fast.
"Defined benetifs systems don't work. They have been abused by the governments for fifty-some years, since they've been in place," says McNeilly. "Future retirees should be allowed to manage their own retirement fund in the form of a 401k.
McNeilly says pensions are too high for government employees considering how little money taxpayers already have for themselves.
In April, Florida's house passed a bill that would require state employees contribute three percent of their salary to their pension.