Senate Dems want state worker pay cut veto, end to contractors’ automatic pay hikesby Dara Kam | May 5th, 2009
State workers, who have gone without a raise for three years, shouldn’t have their salaries cut while employees of private companies who contract with the state get automatic pay hikes, an angry Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson complained today.
Lawson asked Crist to veto the 2 percent pay cut for state workers making more than $45,000 a year that House and Senate budget negotiators agreed to this weekend.
And he wants Senate President Jeff Atwater to investigate why private contractors continue to get annual salary increases included in state contracts containing “escalation clauses.”
Lawson tried to amend a bill that would have stopped the clauses and redirected the money spent on the pay increases to offset the $30 million in state worker salary cuts included in the budget.
Lawson sent letters today asking Crist for the veto and Atwater for an auditor general investigation into how widespread the escalation clauses are and how much the salary increases have cost the state.
“I believe that the State of Florida is at a crossroads. Do we want a capable, dedicated and highly professional civil service corps? Or do we continue to allow private contractors, with the blessings of the Legislature, unhindered access to dwindling tax dollars while we furlough the state watchdogs or worse, cut their salaries?” Lawson, whose district includes Tallahassee where many state workers live, wrote to Atwater, R-North Palm Beach.