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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The faces of Florida's newly unemployed, 1,300 state layoffs

Millions of Floridians head back to work today after a three-day Fourth of July weekend.

But Toni Gugliotta won't be among them.

She'll be applying for $275 a week in unemployment benefits instead.

The Pinellas County woman is among 1,300 state employees put out of work by the new budget approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on May 26.

Scott kept his promise to reduce the size of the state government bureaucracy. But he did so at the expense of real people with mortgages, health care bills, college tuition payments and credit card payments.

Many of them earned less than $30,000 a year after years of state employment.

To them, the Scott mantra "Let's get to work" rings hollow. They now join the hordes of Floridians looking for work in a state with an unemployment rate that, while declining, remains in double digits at 10.6 percent.

The state agencies that took the biggest hits are the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Families, which together account for most of the layoffs.

"It's like 12 years going down the drain," Gugliotta said.

Read more here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 9:01am]


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