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Retirement reform takes another hit

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Updated: 7/22/2013 8:16 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Brown has made it clear. He says his retirement reform plan would save taxpayers $45 million next year, $1.2 billion over the next 30 years.

But a closer look at the plan, by Jacksonville's business leaders, has the Chamber of Commerce backing out of its endorsement.

Chamber President Daniel Davis said, "After they looked into it, they really felt like the Mayor and his staff did a great job starting out, but we needed to go a little bit further."

The Chamber's board of directors calls the plan it unsustainable, a hindrance to Jacksonville's long term financial health.
Davis said, "We need to really make sure we come up with a plan that solves those issues and not just puts a band-aid on it."

When Action News contacted the Mayor's Office about its response, it fired back, telling us this is a complete 180 from a resolution the Chamber released back in May, when it called for the Council to PASS the plan.

The Mayor's spokesman released a statement saying, "While the Chamber may be of two minds on this subject, Mayor Brown is not. This retirement reform agreement is good for taxpayers and fair for our brave public safety employees."

Without reform, the city says you'll see drastic cuts in city services. Libraries will close. Animal control will lose funding. Even public safety will take a hit.

But Davis says the plan on the table now still needs work, and the Chamber is asking the adminstration to come up with an alternative.
"Our first responders deserve a plan that will have longevity and protect them because they've spent a lifetime protecting us," he said.

This is the same stance the Civil Council took just last month. It too called the Mayor's plan a "good start." But it said all the current plan does is kick the can down the road, making it a problem for another year.

The final decision lies in the hands of the City Council. One solution to this problem is a tax hike. The City Council is strongly considering that. The issue is on the agenda for Tuesday night's meeting.
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