State workers unhappy about no pay raises in DeSantis’ proposed budget

labor union photo
Photo has been cropped. Credit: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

State workers say they are dismayed that Gov. Ron DeSantis’s proposed $91.4 billion state budget for the coming year does not contain an across-the-board pay raise for state employees.

The Republican governor’s recommended spending plan contains millions to boost Florida’s starting teacher salaries to $47,500, which would be one of the highest starting salaries for public school teachers in the nation.

It also contains a pay increase for correctional officers and other staff in the state prison system.

But DeSantis did not recommend an increase for most workers in the various state agencies and programs.

“On behalf of the nearly 50,000 state employees that provide the backbone of the state of Florida, we are incredibly disappointed that yet another budget has been proposed that does not offer a raise for our underpaid public service workers,” Vicki Hall, president of the Florida branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said in a statement.

State workers have only had two general pay raises in the last dozen years and what they consider a pay cut in 2011, when the state begin requiring workers contribute 3 percent of their annual salary to the state pension fund, according to the union.

“We urge the Legislature to reconsider the budget to prioritize state workers who are struggling to make it in today’s economy,” Hall said.

DeSantis’ proposal for the 2020-21 budget year, which begins July 1, will be forwarded as a recommendation to state lawmakers, who begin their annual legislative session in January.

Earlier this month, AFSCME proposed a 5 percent pay raise for workers, along with a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment. But the state rejected the initial offer and a formal impasse in the negotiations was declared on Nov. 18.

Here’s a prior Florida Phoenix story on the workers’ pay-raise request.