Fla. Officials to Washington: No Go on Pension Refund

September 12, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Don't look for the pension dispute between federal officials and the state of Florida to get resolved anytime soon.

Even though a final audit by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Inspector General said the Sunshine State owed Washington $267 million in pension fund overcharges, state executives in Tallahassee aren’t exactly reaching for their checkbooks just yet, according to the Tallahassee (Florida) Democrat. HHS said the state overcharged for pension payments that Washington contributes on behalf of state employees who work in programs funded by the federal government, such as Medicaid (See  Uncle Sam: Florida Pension Fund Owes $267M  ).

However Florida officials argue that the state’s contribution rates were the result of a great deal of research and actuarial analysis, are designed to help keep the state’s $93-billion public pension fund humming along financially, and that the state doesn’t owe a dime.

The audit itself became controversial early this year when it was revealed that federal auditors delayed their accounting by about three months. That was long enough to prevent the audit from being released during Governor Jeb Bush’s re-election campaign. Florida officials denied that was the reason for the delay.