Senator Jeff Brandes files pension disclosure legislation

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Today, Senator Jeff Brandes filed SB 534 which deals with publicly funded defined-benefit retirement plans, and is designed to bring transparency into the varying accounting methods used in the reporting standards of municipal pension plans. 

“We are facing problems in many of our municipal pension plans throughout the state, with potential catastrophic consequences resulting from these unfunded promises,” Brandes said, citing a recent study by the Leroy Collins Institute regarding municipal pensions in Florida. “With this bill we hope to increase transparency in our public pension plans.” 

The bill will require the almost 500 publicly funded defined benefit plans in the state to provide additional disclosure to the Department of Management Services. The bill also requires that the plans use conservative methods in projecting future liabilities. This legislation comes in light of figures by the Florida Retirement System demonstrating significant discrepancies between assumed rates of return and actual rates of return for investments by many plans. 

“It is important that Florida taxpayers know the total cost of unfunded promises in current pension plans,” stated Representative Matt Caldwell, who is sponsoring the companion measure in the House of Representatives. “This legislation will shed greater light on the true levels of funding for these plans, and will compel local jurisdictions to meet head-on the unfunded promises to their public employees.”

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.