The New York Times
The State Supreme Court sided on Thursday with the governor and lawmakers and ruled as constitutional a 2011 law that overhauled the state pension system, requiring a 3 percent payroll contribution by state workers. Reversing a lower court decision by a 4-to-3 vote, the Supreme Court said the 2011 law did not violate the state Constitution as argued by labor unions battling the pension changes. The lower court determined that the Florida Retirement System overhaul, which passed two years ago as policy makers wrestled with a $3.6 billion budget gap, unlawfully broke a contract and violated the rights of government workers to bargain in unions. The new ruling eliminates the possibility of a refund of an estimated $900 million in employee contributions and fees collected since 2011. The pension overhaul covering about 623,000 Florida teachers and other government workers included curbs on inflation increases in retiree benefits.