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State Workers Uncertain About Future

March 17th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

State workers facing the uncertainty of five percent pay cuts, furloughs or outright firings spent the day walking the hallways of the state capitol talking to anyone who would listen. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, uncertain legislative action has many workers on pins and needles.

Bob Ruggiero spent the day walking the capitol hallways. Bob makes twenty-six thousand dollars a year working for the Department of Juvenile Justice in Tampa and says the last thing he says he can afford is a pay cut or a layoff.

I have bills. I have a car payment, cable, mortgage, food bill, telephone,” Ruggiero said. “Any reduction in my salary would hurt.

As the workers looked for sympathetic ears, Governor Charlie Crist said hes hoping to avoid both tax hikes and layoffs by using stimulus money.

When asked if state workers should be worried, Governor Crist replied, “I would hope not.”
But CFO Alex Sink says some tax exemptions will have got to go.
If somebody is paying 1,000 dollars to go to a Super Bowl game, they can afford an extra 60 bucks in sales tax,” Sink said.

There are a lot of ideas being tossed around and the only uncertainty is that what to do about taxes and state employees will dominate the next 6 weeks of the session.

The uncertainty has Sandra Graham of Stuart arguing that pay cuts wont help her or the economy.
It would not only hurt me, it would hurt the people who provide daycare for my children because I will no longer be able to afford to send them to daycare. Ill probably lose my home, Graham, a school board employee, said.

And while lawmakers may be able to brush off the union members, hundreds of parents and PTA members are coming with the same message Wednesday.

Senate President Jeff Atwater has already said some taxes or fees need to be increased to minimize damage done to the workforce, but counterparts in the state house are offering only budget cuts.

Posted in Legislature, State Budget, State News, Taxes, Unemployment | No Comments »

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