TALLAHASSEE -- From Bradenton to Miami, Florida’s cities and counties face a “ticking time bomb” of debt because they do not have enough money to pay future pensions and health care benefits already promised to current employees, according to a report released Wednesday from the LeRoy Collins Institute.
The worst offender is Bradenton, which owes retirees 476 percent more in health care benefits than the money they now spend on their total budgets. Others who owe between one and four times more than their budgets are Hollywood, Hialeah, Miami and Cape Coral.
Miami, for example, owed about $100 million a year in retiree health care and pension payments in 2009, but only set aside $74 million or 74 percent of what they owed. St. Petersburg owed $51 million that same year, but only had set aside about $40 million. The shortfall forces cities to find other funding sources. Specific figures for Bradenton were not readily available.
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