WASHINGTON – Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) told TMN Wednesday that today he will formally introduce legislation aimed at providing greater transparency over government-funded pensions.
"Let’s open the books on the federal pension data. Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent and let’s just put that information out there for public consumption," DeSantis said.
"It’s very difficult, I think, to be opposed to that concept and so I think we’ll probably get pretty strong support," he added.
The Taxpayer-Funded Pension Disclosure Act of 2017 will be reviewed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of the Illinois-based nonprofit taxpayer watchdog group Open the Books, spoke alongside DeSantis and said his organization worked with the congressman’s office for three months to help craft the legislation.
Andrzejewski said passage of the measure would constitute a landmark victory for transparency advocates.
"For the first time it would make subject to the Freedom of Information Act the release of: Who is retired, where they worked, who they are, how much they got, how long they worked, how much they paid into the system – so we can finally bring hard data to the issues of pensions," he explained.
Andrzejewski said research by Moodys suggests that taxpayers on average foot the bill for about $150 billion per year in federal pension funds and that the number increases to about $3.5 trillion when unfunded liabilities are considered.
"The amount of money that goes out in terms of retirement annuities each year dwarfs the budget of the state of Texas or dwarfs the budget in the state of Florida each year," he explained.