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Salary Cuts for the Higher Paid

March 20th, 2009 by flanews

A proposal to cut state workers salaries to help balance the budget is causing outrage among lower paid employees. More than a thousand people make six figures for the state. As Whitney Ray tells us, lawmakers could vote for larger cuts for those employee making big bucks.

State workers rallied at the capitol this week trying to save their salaries. A proposed five percent cut for all state employees has workers on the bottom of the pay pool furious. Now, lawmakers will consider bigger cuts for the higher paid.

Maybe we should look at the compensation of our agency heads, our higher paid employees as opposed to just cutting everyone equally across the board, said State Senator Dave Aronberg.

Representative Will Weatherford says its not fair to ask everyone to pay the same price.

A 5,000 dollar cut to a person making 100,000 dollars a year is a bigger cut overall; its not as significant to their pocket and so we are going to be very diligent and careful as to how we do that, said Representative Will Weatherford

While salaries are on the table, benefits, like health care, life insurance and retirement are not. More than 26,000 top level employees dont pay a dime for health insurance.

Benefits for lawmakers, including free health coverage, costs taxpayers. Governor Charlie Crist defends the spending.

People who work in Government typically dont make as much as many in the private sector and its one of the benefits that can keep such talented people here, said Crist.

If every state worker paid premiums for their health coverage, the state would save an estimated 45 million dollars a year.

Governor Charlie Crist makes $133,000 a year. His benefits are worth $33,000. A doctor for the Department of Health is the top paid state employee. Dr. Patel Bhupendra makes $895,000 a year. State lawmakers who work part time make $30,000 a year, and receive $18,000 in state benefits.

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