Tuesday, March 17, 2009

5-percent pay cut proposed for Florida state workers

Florida taxpayers could save upward of $304 million if the Legislature cut every state worker's salary by about 5 percent, according to an analysis produced by the state Senate.

Nothing is final and "everything is on the table," Senate budget chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Winter Haven, said.

Under the pay-cut analysis, a 1 percent reduction to all state workers, including university system employees, would produce an annual savings about $60.7 million. A 5 percent cut would result in $303.4 million in savings.

At least 1,200 state workers make more than $100,000, the Herald/Times reported last month. More than half of them work at the departments of health, transportation and corrections. Many are doctors, lawyers and planners.

Gov. Charlie Crist seemed opposed to the effort. ''This is the first I'm hearing of it. And I'm not favorably inclined to that,'' Crist said. “I would hope we could go in another direction.''

"We would not have to do this if we would just close the tax loopholes and exemptions," said State Sen. Al Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat. "State workers have not had a pay raise in three years and we've got state employees standing in line for food stamps. It's just an issue of fairness."

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