Governor pushing for pay hike for state workers

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week released his $115 billion budget proposal for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. One item that immediately jumped out for the thousands who work for the state of Florida was a proposed 5% pay raise, beginning July 1.

Though a seemingly exciting plan, the proposal will be dependent upon the workers’ salaries and lawmakers’ willingness to include the raise in the budget they approve in early May.

One state employee, who identified herself only as Jordan B., said she’s more than ready for the pay raise. “I’m definitely excited,” she said. “It’s needed, we do so much work.”

While the state is looking to hire more employees, Jordan believes it may increase the number of people applying for these positions and motivate them to start a career working for the state. She also mentioned how it might help with the overall turnover rate.

Along with Jordan, an anonymous state employee who has worked for the state for more than two decades explained how the pay increase may be beneficial — but that it is dependent on the person and their current salary.

According to Zippia, the average salary for a state employee is $43,789. With the increase, the average employee would be getting a $2,000 increase for the year. When the amount is divided over 12 months, the increase would be slightly more than $160 a month. With this in mind, DeSantis’ budget proposal would only do so much to help the everyday employee.

The state worker who requested to remain anonymous emphasized how the wage increase wouldn’t impact the typical employee compared to someone who makes a higher salary, and that compared to other states, the average salary in Florida is on the low end.

“Anything is better than nothing. It would influence some, but it won’t be a game changer,” they said.

The employees said that they think the raise is a nice thing overall, but more needs to be done. “A dollar more than I got yesterday is always good, but it won’t make a significant change.”

The employee also believes that state workers deserve to be paid more fairly, especially when compared to the pay in other sectors. They believe that what needs to be done is to, “Systemically change the pay rates. That would be more beneficial. It builds the base so the next person who comes in will have a better salary.”

The state worker said that they wouldn’t recommend that their children work for the state, but that they do get great health insurance. Though they could make more working for a private company, the insurance benefits make a difference.

Under DeSantis’ budget proposal, employees with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would also see a pay raise.