Local Leaders: Local Economy Will See Severe Impact

Commissioners and other leaders in Leon County are preparing for rough days ahead.

They say the upcoming Florida Legislature will have a tremendous negative impact on the local economy.

Leon County resident Allene Roberts said, "First of all, our country's broke."

And local leaders say it's going to get worse for Tallahassee/Leon County thanks to Florida Governor Rick Scott's budget proposals.

Leon County Commission Chairman John Dailey held a legislative dialogue community meeting with various local, state, and business leaders Tuesday to discuss how the region will be impacted.

State Rep. Alan Williams said, "The governor can't get to 700,000 jobs if he's cutting, he's already lost $24,000 from the high-speed rail, losing another $13,000 with state employees. So, we have to call him on that."

Commissioner Dailey says because of the $3.6 billion budget shortfall and proposed layoffs, the 55,000 people who participate in Florida's Retirement System will take a five percent pay cut.

Roberts says these times are already tough for many residents. She said, "Insurance has gone up, taxes have gone up, the price of groceries, gasoline, everything's gone up."

The leaders say the impact to the business community will be severe, more so than any other part of the state.

They say the key is showing state leaders the impact of job loss and job creation.

One resident says just finding change to put in a parking meter was hard enough, so finding a job is a must.

The man said, "In order to pay your bills, you have to have money, a job. it is difficult."

State Rep. Michelle Rewhwinkel Vasinlinda says the plan of action should be to convince the governor not to make cuts and plan B is to try to attract more businesses.

Senator Bill Montford says he does not agree with ideas of privatization.

The leaders pointed out that most state workers are so afraid to speak out that they don't even come to public meetings.

Therefore, leaders say it is up to the community to speak out for them by asking the state not to make the cuts.

Commissioner Dailey says he plans to call another dialogue meeting like today's in the middle of the legislative session to see where things stand then.

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