File photo of the interior of the Florida Supreme Court. (Pool Photo/Newsmakers)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Supreme Court gives the state a major legal victory and rules Florida can charge state workers three percent of their salaries to help pay for their pensions.
Gov. Rick Scott signed the law in 2011, arguing it was needed to help strengthen Florida's retirement system.
That prompted the state's teachers union to sue on behalf of Florida's public workers. The union argued the law was unconstitutional and a lower court judge agreed.
But the appeal to the Supreme Court resulted in a 4 - 3 decision on Thursday in favor of the state.
Gov. Scott says the ruling will benefit Florida families by lowering their cost of living and help attract more businesses to Florida.
Florida Education Association Attorney Ron Meyer said it's wrong to balance the state's budget and try to boost the economy by taking cash from public workers.
"It certainly is not benefiting their economy and if we're going to basically balance the budget and benefit the economy solely on the backs of the hardworking men and women in public employment, I think it's a sad day for the state of Florida, Meyer said. "So I think the governor has just got it wrong."
Florida Education Association President Andy Ford accuses Scott of being insensitive to the needs of working families and not understanding what it's like to live on $50,000 or less.
Ford said the teachers union will work to get rid of politicians who supported the pension contribution.
"The 2014 campaign begins today. We're going to have a focus on changing the politicians in Tallahassee who don't care about working Floridians and making sure that the people who come back here in January of '15 actually care about the working men and women of this state," Ford said.
The ruling affects more than 600,000 public workers in Florida.
First Coast News