By James Call, Tallahassee Democrat
Former state Sen. Jeremy Ring swung through Tallahassee Tuesday warning about disingenuous politicians threatening public employees’ pensions.
Before he was termed out of office in November, the Fort Lauderdale Democrat spent eight years as chair of the Senate Government Oversight Committee, where he consistently blocked attempts to reform the Florida Retirement System.
Jeremy Ring is considering a statewide run for CFO. Tuesday he spoke to progressives in Tallahassee James Call
The former Yahoo executive is considering a run for state chief financial officer in 2018. He called the FRS the strongest asset the state has and said it is likely the strongest retirement system in the nation.
Bills filed this year would close the defined benefit plan to city and county workers if their employer was not a member of the system Jan. 1. Ring said reform attempts are purely political and based on no factual evidence whatsoever.
“I used to challenge them. Go anywhere in the world find one pension expert, one financial expert and bring them to our committee to tell us our pension fund is one bit challenged,” said Ring, who confessed that although he made millions as an entrepreneur, he gets more personal satisfaction from his political successes. “For eight years they could not do that. All they gave were political answers, never policy answers.”
This year’s reform bill, SB 428 has cleared one committee and waits to be scheduled in the oversight committee, which Ring once chaired. It passed its first committee on a 5 -2 vote. Ring is on a statewide listening tour, although he has not filed officially to be a candidate for CFO.
When asked about a potential run for the Cabinet position, he quipped,
“We’re the only people talking today about who will be CFO in 2018,” Ring said about a Cabinet race. “And the day before the election, we’ll probably still be the only people talking about the CFO.”