February 8th, 2011, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today issued the following statement praising a plan by Florida Governor Rick Scott to overhaul the Medicaid and public pensions systems in his state:
"Governor Rick Scott's proposal to move Medicaid recipients into managed care plans could save as much as $2 billion a year and is a move that warrants consideration by all governors and legislatures across the country. Medicaid spending is already sinking state governments with $60 billion in annual obligations that are set to dramatically rise as temporary federal 'stimulus' moneys run out. After that, state Medicaid spending will only rise in the next 10 years. This is a program that must be scaled back if states are to get their fiscal houses in order. Governor Scott is to be applauded for taking this step.
"Governor Scott also plans to put new government employees into a 401(k)-style retirement system and for all government employees to contribute 5 percent of their salaries to retirement. This will likely save another $1.4 billion every year, and give public employees a greater stake in the solvency of their retirement funds. And by transitioning new employees into defined contribution plans, Florida is putting itself on sounder fiscal footing for the coming years. With unfunded pension liabilities for states totaling as much as $3 trillion, phasing out and eventually eliminating defined benefit plans must be at the top of every state's long-term fiscal planning. There is too much at stake.
"Thanks to these remarkable steps by Governor Scott to slash state spending, he can afford to include in his plan $2 billion in property and corporate tax cuts. These will make it easier for Florida to clear out its excess housing stock, and add new incentives for businesses to set up shop there.
"Taken together, slashing Medicaid spending, reforming the public pension system, and reducing the tax burden are a model for every state in the Union to follow. These are the steps that must be taken to make America competitive again, and to save governments from certain insolvency."