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Jacksonville City Employees Endorse Pension Tax Referendum

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Mayor Lenny Curry (center) stands alongside AFSCME union members at Hemming Park on Thursday, Aug. 11.

City of Jacksonville employees and their union leaders are endorsing the pension-tax referendum on this month’s ballot.

Members of AFSCME Florida, the largest of six unions representing city workers, stood beside Mayor Lenny Curry Thursday in Hemming Park and urged residents to vote yes on County Referendum No. 1.

Curry, a Republican, says the pension crisis is bringing together unlikely allies.

“We are seeing people from all parts of our community, constituents from all parts of our community, interest groups that are often at odds with each other, coming together in recognition that our entire future rests on funding the unfunded pension liabilities,” he said.

The referendum would extend a half-cent sales tax, starting in the year 2030, to pay down pension debt.

It would only go into effect if at least one of the city’s three pension funds closes to new members. Unions would negotiate the terms of the closure.

Check back Friday  for more on the pension referendum as we begin our series titled “What’s On Your Ballot?”

Contact Jessica Palombo at 904-358-6315, jpalombo@wjct.org or on Twitter at @JessicaPubRadio.  

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP