Single dad part of lawsuit against State of Florida | News
Tampa, Florida - Two Tampa Bay area education workers are part of a class action lawsuit against the state of Florida over a new law that requires public employees to contribute three percent of their salaries to their pensions.
Megan Allen is one of the plaintiffs. She's a teacher of exceptional student education at Cleveland Elementary School at 723 East Hamilton Avenue in Tampa.
Brian England is also a plaintiff. He develops and manages programs for life-long learning as the coordinator of Continuing Education at Hillsborough Community College.
England says he loves making an impact on students and says, "It's great seeing their eyes light up when they have that experience."
But he and countless others in the education field say trying to make ends meet at home is almost impossible. The single father has a son in college and he works two jobs to support him. England says, "I'm far from being poor, but very well stretched. I think everybody is no matter what they're making. They're stretched to the limits.'
The lawsuit that England and Allen are plaintiffs in names the following people as defendants: Governor Rick Scott, Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and John Miles, Secretary of the Department of Management Services and Administrator of the Florida Retirement System.
A custodian, two deputies and a nurse manager are among the plaintiffs.
Click here to see the lawsuit which was filed in Leon County, Florida on Monday.
The Florida Education Association calls the pension contribution an income tax that's unconstitutional. Andy Ford is the president of the organization and says the new pension contribution breaks promises made to public employees.
Ford says, "The three percent contribution to the retirement system is balancing the state budget on the backs of teachers, firefighters and police officers as opposed to doing what's right. At the same time that they threw this three percent cut toward public employees, they gave corporations a tax break."
But some lawmakers say it's a step in the right direction. Republican Representative Will Weatherford, who is in line to become House speaker next year, says the pension contribution is a reasonable policy.
Weatherford says, "The state of Florida is the only state in the United States of America that does not ask its employees to contribute to their pension fund. We are now asking them to contribute three percent and I think that's a very reasonable [thing to] ask."
Public employees, including teachers, police officers and firefighters were set to start making the three percent contribution starting July 1st. But the lawsuit asks a judge to set aside that money in a separate interest-bearing account until the issue is resolved.