State Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda Proposes a 7% Raise for State Employees

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State Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda – District 9

PRESS RELEASE:
October 19, 2012

CONTACT:
Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (850) 488-0965 or (850) 445-5110

State Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda Proposes a 7% Raise for State Employees

TALLAHASSEE, FL – State Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-Tallahassee) is advocating that st

ate employees be given a 7% raise as part of the 2013-2014 state budget. The Representative, whose legislative district is home to many state workers, said that she would like to see the money for the raises be sourced from the $ 334 million cash payment that the state recently received from the national mortgage foreclosure settlement. The national mortgage foreclosure settlement was the result of over a year of negotiation between the U.S. Department of Justice and the country’s five largest mortgage servicers who agreed to a $ 25 billion national settlement over questionable mortgage and foreclosure practices. A portion of Florida’s funds are marked for distribution to borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008 and 2011. A final spending decision has yet to be made on the remainder of Florida’s settlement funds.“It has been six years since Florida’s state employees had their last raise and during that time the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased by 15% which has further degraded the purchasing power of our already underpaid state employees. Raises for state workers have become an issue of fundamental fairness,” said Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda.

Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda estimates a cost of about $ 487 million to give a 7% raise to all state employees. Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda’s proposal is not out of line with what other states are doing with their portions of the national mortgage foreclosure settlement. For example, the state of Georgia has decided to use all $ 99 million of its settlement funds for programs designed to attract new businesses. Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda has also pointed out the fact that next year’s tax revenues are expected to increase by about $ 700 million and that if the raises are not sourced from the settlement funds, then they should be authorized from the state’s general revenue. She believes that the raises are more than justified given the fact that Florida’s state employees are among the lowest paid among the 50 states while also being the leanest in number per capita as compared to other states. The Representative said that in addition to the raises being much deserved and long overdue, the increased purchasing power that state employees would gain would provide a needed boost to Florida’s economy.

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