Tallahassee Lawmaker Proposes 7 Percent Pay Raises for State Workers

Bill Cotterell | Staff Reporter, January 18, 2013, The Florida Current

A Florida House member representing tens of thousands of state employees — who haven’t had a general pay raise in six years — filed a bill Friday to give all state workers a 7 percent pay hike.

“I figured on 1 percent for each year they haven’t had a raise, and one for good measure,” said Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee.

She acknowledged her bill (HB 289) faces steep odds in the Republican-controlled Legislature.Gov. Rick Scott has said he will propose a merit-based salary plan that would allow department heads to give pay raises to employees who significantly exceed expectations.

The same proposal was in Scott’s budget for this year, but the 2012 Legislature did not fund it.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda filed her bill a day after the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of Scott’s requirement that members of the Florida Retirement System contribute 3 percent of earnings to their pensions. From 1974 until 2011, the pension plan had been entirely employer-paid.

“It’s an ethical and moral imperative that we treat our employees fairly,” Rehwinkel Vasilinda said. “We always say we want to run our state like a business, and recognizing the hard work of employees is what a business would do.”

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The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the positions of UFF-UF.