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State Worker Layoffs

January 15th, 2010 by flanews

State workers could be laid off to help fill an estimated three billion dollar budget gap. There are 150-thousand state workers in Florida costing taxpayers more than seven billion dollars in salaries and benefits. State workers beat a two percent pay cut last year, but as Capital Correspondent Whitney Ray tells us, making it past the legislature’s budget ax this year will be a tougher task.

Facing a two percent pay cut in last year’s budget state workers joined forces, and convinced Governor Charlie Crist to veto the pay reduction. State workers may have won the battle, but the war rages on.

The state is facing a three billion dollar budget hole and legislative leaders are already discussing laying off state workers to help fill the gap.

Senator Dave Aronberg says layoffs aren’t the answer.

“We’ve had pay freezes for state workers for years. We’ve had furloughs for years, so to keep piling on state workers is not going to balance our budget and really it’s not fair considering they have bore a lot of the brunt from our recent budget cuts,“ said Aronberg.

State employee unions say layoffs would force more people onto the state’s unemployment rolls and cause a slow down in government assistance programs.

“We would urge our leaders not to take steps that while may seem politically popular or seem like a simplistic solution would actually do more economic damage,” said Doug Martin, with AFSCME Council 79.

But even if jobs are saved benefits like health insurance and retirement for state workers may be scaled back. Democrats and State employee unions says the state could easily find the money needed to safe the jobs by eliminating tax loopholes for luxury items like yachts, skybox tickets to sports games, and limo rentals.

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