New Florida budget allocations include raise for state employees

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By: Lanetra Bennett
April 27, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida legislators are close to finalizing a state budget. For the first time in years, it could Include an across-the-board pay raise for state workers.

Representative Loranne Ausley (Dist. 9) says she and the other local reps and senators have been fighting hard for state employee pay raises.

The numbers and details of the increase have not been released yet.

However, Rep. Ausley says she's cautiously optimistic. She still has concerns. "Along with the state employee pay raises, there will be some changes to the state group health insurance. We don't know yet what those are. But, if they are the things that we have debated in this chamber, it could be significant out-of-pocket costs for state employees. So, in some ways, it could be a wash."

There has not been an across-the-board pay raise for state employees in Florida in nine years.

Tallahassee resident Lisa Shuman said, "They're giving us services and they're helping us get a retirement, etc.. They deserve to be paid for what they're working for; as all employees are. We all deserve a salary to live off off of."

Lawmakers say no one's taxes will go up as a result of these pay raises.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
April 27, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Newly-announced Florida budget allocations include a raise for state employees.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum released the following statement in response to the inclusion of raises:

“Tallahassee is home to the finest state employees in the country. An across the board raise for our workers is long overdue, so I'm pleased these raises have been included in the announced budget allocations. We appreciate the work of all of our local lawmakers for never giving up the fight on behalf of our workers. To stay competitive, this shouldn't happen once every nine years, it should happen every year.”

State employees in Florida have not received an across-the-board pay raise for the last eight years.

For legislative session to adjourn on-time, a budget must be on members’ desks by next Tuesday, May 2.

By: Mike Vasilinda; Capitol News Service
April 26, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- State lawmakers are closing in on the broad outlines of an 83 billion dollar state budget, but even small details could derail progress long enough to push lawmakers into overtime.

The Senate gets its plan to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The House would get its cuts to Visit and Enterprise Florida.

The House would also get a 200 million dollar plan for Charter Schools of Hope. In exchange for the Senate’s request for a boost to university funding.

Early Wednesday, Senate Budget Chairman Jack Latvala tweeted there was no official deal until it was announced by the Senate President. Majority Leader Sen. Bill Galvano says discussions were on going.

“I wouldn't classify anything as having fallen apart. And at this point there is some tweaking going on, on what I would call second and third tier issues.”

After the morning Senate Session, President Joe Negron wasn’t ready to announce a deal, but sounded optimistic.

“It’s down to just a few issues where we’re trying to clarify some language to the satisfaction of both the House and the Senate,” says Negron.

On the House side, Speaker Rep. Richard Corcoran was absent from the floor most of the morning. In an exclusive interview he appeared to pour water on the finality of the talks.

“It’s very very difficult. We’re a very conservative body, and it’s difficult dealing with a body that doesn’t hold our principles and our values,” says Corcoran.

Lawmakers appear to be shutting down Governor Rick Scott’s top priorities, but he will have the final say.

Under the deal, Visit Florida would be funded at 25 million dollars, a third of this year’s total budget. Enterprise Florida would survive, but with no money for incentives.

Governor Rick Scott issued a statement from his trade mission in Argentina, stating, “Lawmakers cannot be shortsighted at the expense of Florida families.”

Budget negotiators could begin going through a complete analysis of the differences as early Wednesday night. A budget must be on members’ desks by next Tuesday for an on time adjournment of the legislative session.

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