By Lloyd Dunkelberger, News Service of Florida
TALLAHASSEE — Florida counties will have to contribute an additional $66 million to the state pension fund in the new budget year, according to legislation that has started moving in the Senate.
As a result of a decrease in the assumed rate of investment return on the $160 billion pension fund, counties, school boards, state agencies, universities, state colleges and other government entities will have to increase their contributions in the 2018-2019 budget year to make sure there is enough money to pay retirement benefits in the long term.
The increased payments total $178.5 million, including $66.4 million for county governments, according to legislation (SB 7014) approved by the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee last week.
School districts, whose employees represent about half of the 627,000 active pension participants, will have to contribute an additional $54.4 million.
State agencies will have to contribute another $31 million. Universities will have to contribute $11.8 million and state colleges an additional $4.8 million.
A handful of cities and special districts that participate in the state retirement system will face a $10 million contribution increase.
County governments, which face the largest contribution increase, will have to accommodate the added expense as they shape their 2018-2019 budgets.