TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)—Florida’s massive retirement fund now has a $19.2 billion gap between the amount of money it has and the amount of money it needs to cover all current and future benefits.
A report released Monday shows that the Florida Retirement System—home to some 900,000 active and retired public employees—is now underfunded by 13.1 percent. That’s an increase of $1.2 billion over last year.
The overall pension fund is worth nearly $128 billion.
The size of the gap is still within a range considered healthy by many financial experts, but it could still fuel a political debate in the Florida Legislature.
Gov. Rick Scott has complained about the long-term health of the pension plan—and whether the state is overestimating the amount it expects to earn off investments.
Florida in 2011 pushed to require public employees to start paying 3 percent of their salaries to cover part of their pension costs but that money is not being used to help make up the gap. Unions challenged the 3 percent contribution requirement and the case is pending before the Florida Supreme Court.
The new numbers on the pension plan were prepared by the actuarial firm Milliman and presented to a group of state economists.