State Report Confirms Florida Is Not Investing In The Future

A new report released this week by the Department of Management Service, State Personnel System Annual Workforce Report for Fiscal Year 2014-15, puts into black and white what the failure to invest in state workers, and the services they provide, really looks like.

“Floridians expect, and deserve, that our tax dollars are invested in ensuring our state government reflects the needs and opportunities we will face together in the future but years of underfunded agencies and overstretched staffing stops us from getting the services we have paid for and that any first-class state like Florida would expect,” said AFSCME Florida Executive Director Andy Madtes.

The picture painted by the report couldn’t be clearer: years of cuts have delivered an aging state workforce that will soon face a wave of retirements while young workers look elsewhere for positions offering better pay and benefits. All this while the state population grows and, with it, the issues state government must deal with.

The report details how

  • Florida has 50% fewer state employees per capita than the national average and spends more than 50% less on those employees than the national average, leading to underfunded and overworked agencies unable to meet the demands of today, let alone plan for the challenges of tomorrow. 
  • After cutting 10% of positions in the State Personnel System (SPS) since 2011, Florida is unprepared to handle an aging population as employment in the public and private sector must increase by more than 12% by 2022 to offset the wave of retirements by the Baby Boomer generation.
  • While managers have avoided the budget ax with their numbers remaining unchanged, the number of SPS positions fell almost 8%.
  • More than 40% all SPS employees were at or near retirement age while turnover within the past year has spiked by more than 11%.
  • Thanks to years of no pay increases and a 3% payroll tax for the previously employer-paid Florida Retirement System, state employees now earn on average 13.5 percent less than employees in all Florida industries.

“I think it is safe to say that very few Floridians would suggest that our neighbors in Alabama faces the same breadth and depth of issues and challenges we do, yet they invest twice as much, per capita, in the services and staff necessary to keep their state moving forward,” said Madtes. “All that taxpayers are asking is for our leaders to invest in making Florida as good as Alabama.”