We Need Your Help. Our Illustrious Politians are trying to Butcher our Pension Plan, delete our Heart Lung Bill, & our Disability should we be injured in the line of duty. We need as many people who live & work in the State of Florida to contact their local, district, and state representatives to ask them to vote NO on this.

Please, We Need Your Help. 

                                    Thank You & Have A Blessed Day.

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Ummm, hate to say this, but it isn't just Florida. This is happening all over the place because public workers have been demonized as being the "haves" while everyone else is the "have nots" and the simple fact that lies are being told. It is NOT the pension or benefits of public workers which started this mess, but the mismanagement of funds by policticians and the careless gambling of Wall street. So what you see now is many of the same people responsible for the financial mess (Wall Street, big banks, etc) have successfully shifted focus from their huge bonuses (despite a bailout) to the public worker. It is these same folks who have successfully lobbied and supported such candidates that are in power and then continue to demonize the public worker by playing the Wizard of Oz......Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...focus here.
Regardless of who is to blame, how do you fund those benefits when government revenues are down so drastically?
In many cases Ben, there is funding that could be used to fund such things, but it is easier to grasp onto an opportunity like an economic crisis to thwart such obligations. Yes, there definately are places that are cash strapped where there are big decisions to be made, however, it is not as widespread as many are making out. The whole point is that public workers, all over, are being demonized wrongfully. The fact remains the contacts and so forth that were bargained in good faith have been squandard by many politicians. Point being the economic woes are not the fault of public workers as it is made out to be.

Do I have the answers? No, Ben, I don't. I don't know about the individual issues facing every community out there. What I do know is the mantra of blaming public workers IS widespread and not isolated to any certain area. I also know that there are ways to chack the financial standings of any community and thus to truly see where some issues lie. Plain and simple there are some class AAA communities that are using the same rhetoric as we are seeing, it does boil down to individual efforts, but the rhetoric is the same nonetheless.
ONe of the issues is that the taxpayers still want all of their day-to-day, quality of life wishes met, and that public safety doesn't come first in everyone's mind.

When there are so many things competing for vanishing tax dollars and people want their parks maintained, their schools warm, clean, safe, and providing a decent education, the potholes filled, and the hospitals funded, it's difficult for a sitting city council to give the public safety budget everything they ask for.

Having an AAA bond rating doesn't necessarily equal the year-to-year cash flow needed to fund the needed public safety operating costs, particularly salary and benefits.

I realize that some of the blame attached to public safety workers is unwarranted. On the flip side, it is easy to see how the taxpayers would misunderstand someone who makes six figures, even if the six figure pay is due to long overtime hours and is legitimately earned. The problem there is that when the overtime is calculated into the retirement formula, it adds unplanned retirement expenses and that hurts the pension fund.

We have a state pension system for fire and police here. That system has underfunding problems, despite a major part of it coming from employee contributions. Along with many other pension systems - public and private - the recent recession created a substantial devaluation in the pension banks and voila, an underfunded pension system.

As for answers, there probably are not any really good ones short of finding a way to make the country as prosperous is it was in the 1990's and that isn't looking too likely. With the federal deficit at 14 trillion and climbing, states risking declaring bankruptcy, and cities cutting staff like crazy, the answers we have are likely to continue to be between a range of bad options.
New Hampshire has the same problem. 57 bills proposed this session, from time/age/number of years/ to abolishing the entire system and going to Social Security or 401k.

The problem is our system (state government) allowed towns in the 90's to take a reprieve from matching our mandatory contributions. I pay nearly 10 percent a week, (without a choice) and they didn't. Why? because back then the stock market was making us alot of money and we were not a liability, so the towns and cities asked the state for a reprieve with a promise that they would make it back up. That is like you paying into a private 401K and your boss telling you that they will match it. Then they didn't match it, and decided to go on a vacation instead of investing into the account. The politicians used that reprieve to fund other state projects and to keep the tax rate down but now we are the one's who are the bad guys.... cost too much, etc. I say BS, I paid all those years and now they are looking to take it all away.

New Jersey made a video about it, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ6bzUrJMBU

Best of luck to FL brothers.... and heck I mean all of us.
I agree it is a tough row to hoe, but my point is that there are too many places being opportunistic with the economy excuse. I'm not saying that cuts can't be expected, but the attacks are unwarranted and there are reasons that benefits differ. The fact remains that such jobs today do involve more education and qualifications, yet the image of the public worker does not reflect that. Sure one can pull in a large income with OT and so forth, but what is conviently never reported is the "why".

The whole point here is you do not see the same public outcry against say insurance company employees because one pays too much for insurance and blames the employee. One doesn't see public outcry against cell phone provider employees as the reason bills are too high, and so forth. Yet, somehow it is OK to use the public employee as an excuse.

How do we fix it? I don't know, it is tough times, but it is also time that the public does know where the issues lay, it is time elected officials are held accountable. Yes, there are areas in govt to cut, which will affect ALL people, but the simple fact is that the blame and to balance budgets on the backs of public employees is not right. That is why I responded here, the issues here are not just facing FL, but it is widespread. I mentioned the AAA bond rating, even though it is a small aspect overall, there are still communities that can afford the pay/benefits, but are being opportunistic given the rhetoric. It does boil down to an individual communities to understand the finacial outlook, instead of nodding to the same rhetoric.
Good video, hopefully the general public does wake up to the facts. Much of the same stuff facing NH has been the typical norm elsewhere with skipped payments, etc. Now, however, instead of admitting to that, instead the blame is about benefits.

It is time that the public is educated more and knows why the benefits differ. Most public employees don't pay into Social Security, nor will collect it, they do not have that "cushion" as others will. (yes I know there are issues with SS) Vacation and sick days can typically be banked to help with that differential. Retirement is earlier due to the nature of the job. What gets me though is the number of people griping about how "good" public workers have it and buy into the rhetoric that public employees must also suffer....you see people clamoring to bring others down instead of looking to improve their own lot. Why not bring their standards up?

Another thing I see is the way one views their services and how they view their employer. Most people do have a sense of "stock" or ownership with their employer. To make a profit thus keeps people working, to keep a job etc. They can afford things like cell phones, internet, cable/satellite, cars, etc despite the fact such things cost more in a month than their services for a year.

Now when looking at their services it is easy to pass it off as a "have to pay" vs taking ownership into their service. After all, why would someone want to pay the same amount (or more) money and get less service? Most people won't look at it that way. Cutting staffing will affect them, it mean less people when they need it, less ability to accomplish the goals and so forth. We know that, but the public doesn't, yet how many of us are going out to the public to show what the public does get? When breaking things down, people do become receptive, something I have noticed when educating, vs listening to the rhetoric against us.
It is the "It will never happen to me attitude" John. But these same people pay their car or homeowners insurance though. Essential services are like an insurance policy. Hate to pay it but can't live without it.
When times are tough we are seen as we have it too good BUT when times are good though, we are looked down upon by the private sector...

We have alot of things, like abnormal work schedules / conditions, work nights weekends and holidays, we have extremely high multiple divorce rates, poor health and wellness issues do to a multitude of occupational factors and stressors, a high cancer rate in this occupation and/or early onset of cardiac diseases.

But they don't see all those perks of the job...
what a bunch of assholes they wouldnt like if some one cut there benafits but its ok to do it to hard working people i would like to kick them in the balls
Linda, hate to say it but we are losing more everyday up here. Ryan, those are the same politicians who do one measely 3 year term and have bennies for life (on our dime) they are proponents for cutting the working class man. The fact that we have to work all these years to get to a retirement age, and fight along the way is sad. They just proposed changing our retirement system, your age, years, multiplier, best 5 instead of 3 and base salary only. Get this.... to everyone who is not already retired. VESTED OR NOT. Then they wrote a bill that states if we fight it as "unconstitutional", and win in court, that we (the mployee) will have to pickup 75 percent of the employers contribution on top of my 11 percent a week now.

Mass exodus is about to happen... and nobody has the funds budgeted for the last check payout either!
When it comes down to it, we are all screwed by this; Public and Private alike. Cut Stations, Personnel EVERYONE SUFFERS. What happens when something bad does happen and there's NO ONE there to help deal with it.
FF's, along with P/O's are a special breed all their own. I don't care what anyone has to say about that. It doesn't matter to anyone until something happens and they need you, then all of a sudden when no one is there because of budget issues, or whatever, then it's a HUGE deal. I hope they figure it out before it's too late.

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