Can Rick Scott's pension ideas get past GOP?

A lot of Republicans in Tallahassee probably are wishing Alex Sink won the election.

At least she understood the ground rules of what you can and can't do.

Scott is oblivious.

He is the first governor since the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah to take on the public-safety unions. He wants to cut spending not only by making cops and firefighters pay into their pension plans, but also by whittling down their benefits.

Scott obviously didn't get the memo from Republican headquarters. You can zing the teachers, bash the bureaucrats and demagogue the size of government.

But thou shall not mess with police and firefighters.

This is a bipartisan, time-honored tradition at all levels of government.

It is why we have one child-abuse investigator handling 50 cases and six firefighters handling one heart attack.

Now we will see if Republican legislators back up their new governor or run for the hills.

I am guessing the latter.

You scarcely see an election cycle go by without some Republican posed with police officers or firefighters. That is part of the Republican brand.


Pro-law and order.


Jeb Bush certainly understood this. The first bill he signed as governor sweetened police and firefighter pensions at the expense of city budgets — the kind of classic unfunded mandate Republicans profess to abhor.

Jeb's Republican instincts were tempered by his political instincts, much like Freud said your id is tempered by your superego.

As near I can tell, Scott is all id. Did you see him pull the commuter-rail contracts, the pet project of House Speaker Dean Cannon? You just don't do that to a fellow Republican who has a large say over your agenda.

Scott wants state workers to contribute to their pensions, something they haven't done in about 30 years.

Last year, despite the budgetary crisis, legislators were unwilling to make workers contribute just one quarter of 1 percent of their salaries toward their pensions. It was an election year.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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