Today Marks Historic Day for Jacksonville
March 25, 2016
Governor approves Mayor Curry’s Pension Legislation Bill
This afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation, approving Mayor Lenny Curry’s plan to address Jacksonville’s crippling pension debt. This plan grants municipal governments the ability to extend existing surtax revenue to address pension liability. The bill limits participation to those local governments whose underfunded retirement benefit is below 80 percent of actuarial funding.
“Citizens in every corner of our city should have greater confidence about Jacksonville’s future,” said Mayor Curry. “For too many years, pension debt has posed the greatest threat to our city’s future. With the Governor’s signature today, it now presents the greatest opportunity, providing us the ability to free-up funds for investments in key priorities such as public safety, neighborhood improvements and community services.”
Prior to today’s signature, the pension reform bill was approved by the Florida House of Representatives Feb. 24, and by the Senate on March 9. The bill will now be presented to the Jacksonville City Council for approval to place on a citywide referendum vote later this year.
Jacksonville owns 25 percent of the total unfunded pension liability of more than 400 cities and counties throughout the state, paying more than $260 million annually for its three public pension funds. The city contribution to the three pension funds represents close to 20 percent of the city’s operating budget. The Police & Fire Pension Fund has an unfunded liability of over $1.6 billion; the General Employees’ Pension Fund has an unfunded liability of approximately $910 million; the Corrections Officers’ Pension Fund has an unfunded liability of over $120 million. The total amount in unfunded liabilities is more than $2.6 billion.
“Today speaks volumes about the fine leadership of our Governor and collaboration of our legislators – particularly Senator Bradley and Representative Cummings,” said Mayor Curry. “They have empowered us to solve pension for good and maintain our commitment to not adding any increased burden to our city’s taxpayers.”