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Published May 10, 2011

Reduce the state's workforce by 5 percent

"Operational efficiencies: A 5% reduction in the state's workforce will save almost $300 million."

Sources: Rick Scott's Plan to Turn Florida Around: 7 Steps. 700,000 New Jobs. 7 Years.

Subjects: Government Efficiency, State Budget, Workers

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As part of his signature plan to shrink state government and encourage private sector growth, Florida Gov. Rick Scott promised to cut the state workforce by 5 percent.

But the Republican-dominated Legislature didn't quite see things the same way.

In the budget legislators finally passed in the early morning hours Saturday, May 7, 2011, the House and Senate signed off on job reductions significantly less than what Scott proposed in his budget, and less than what Scott promised during the campaign.

The 2011-12 budget that passed and now awaits Scott's signature or veto includes funding for a total of 122,236 positions in state government (Page 407 of the budget conference report). That's a 3.55 percent decrease, or 4,492.75 fewer jobs, than currently budgeted (Page 445).

But not what Scott had promised or proposed. Scott's budget -- which he released on Feb. 7 -- proposed a 6.82 percent workforce cut in his first year and a total of 118,083.35 state positions (Page 164).

The biggest difference between the Legislative-approved budget and Scott's proposal is in the area of human services. The Legislature's budget retains an additional 1,039 jobs in Department of Children and Family and 619 jobs at the Department of Health.

The Legislature's budget, however, does contain some deeper job reductions than even Scott proposed -- including a cut of 111 jobs at the Department of Education (19 more than Scott proposed), and a 1,751-job cut at the Department of Corrections (61 more than proposed by Scott).

It's unclear how many of the job reductions will result in layoffs, and how many of the positions are now unfilled. For instance, Scott argued during the campaign that much of the workforce reduction could be accomplished simply through natural attrition. The state's human resources agency, the Department of Management Services, reported that 9.83 percent of career service state employees (by far the largest category of state workers) voluntarily left their government jobs in the 2009-10 year. Another 2.9 percent of the workforce was dismissed, or laid off by the state. That's 10,898 workers who left the state one way or another.

Senate and House leaders said the job reductions were necessary in order to present a balanced budget without raising taxes.

Scott promised 5 percent, but he didn't get it. The total job reduction in the budget that passed on May 6 is 3.55 percent. For now, we rate that a Compromise.


2011-12 budget conference report, accessed May 6, 2011

2010-11 current budget, accessed May 6, 2011

Rick Scott's proposed 2011-12 budget, accessed May 6, 2011

Department of Management Services, FY 09/10 Annual Workforce Report, accessed May 6, 2011

Naples Daily News, "Rick Scott, Alex Sink cover new ground on the issues during second debate," Oct. 20, 2010

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Scott's budget proposal slashes state workforce

Updated: Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

By Aaron Sharockman, Amy Sherman

During his 2010 campaign for governor, Rick Scott promised on his website to deliver: "Operational efficiencies: A 5% reduction in the state's workforce will save almost $300 million." That promise was part of his 7-7-7 plan -- goals Scott planned to achieve within seven years, including to create over 700,000 jobs.

On Feb. 7, 2011, the Republican governor released his first budget covering a two-year period. We turned to a spreadsheet provided by Scott's office that showed in the current year, the state budget includes a total of 126,764.5 jobs. Scott's appropriations bill for the next two years shows the number of jobs down to 118,083.35 for the first year and 113,977.35 in the second year. (The state operates on a July 1-June 30 fiscal year, and we're in the 2010-2011 year now.)

That means that over two years, Scott's budget proposal would cut about 12,787.15 jobs. Scott's numbers show that about 2,030 of those jobs to be eliminated in the first year are currently vacant. That would result in cutting about 10 percent of the state's workforce over two years if we include the already-vacant jobs.

Jerry McDaniel, Scott's budget chief, speaking to a Senate budget committee meeting Feb. 9, confirmed those numbers: about 8,600 jobs cut the first year and and an additional 4,000 jobs the second year, he said.

To check on the dollar savings associated with those cuts in the workforce, we turned to Scott's budget documents that list job cuts and savings by two categories: operational efficiencies and programmatic efficiencies. While the operational efficiencies list states that it covers two years, the programmatic efficiencies document doesn't expressly state that -- but we are going to assume that it does, since Scott promised to prepare two-year budgets.

Within operational efficiencies, we found three separate totals for what Scott called "workforce savings," and we're using round numbers:

- Administrative/operational: $155 million.

- Mission creep and earmarks: $18 million.

- Consolidating, privatizing or reorganizing: $120 million.

Within programmatic efficiencies, we found another total for "workforce savings:" $214 million.

That brings Scott's total savings to about $507 million over two years.

We asked McDaniel after his committee appearance for a breakdown of savings for each year, but he said the personnel savings were simply included in the overall total reduction.

The state Legislature will have to approve the budget this spring, and it's unclear whether legislators will sign-on to Scott's plan for thousands of layoffs, which would put a dent in the state's more than $3 billion shortfall but also increase unemployment. Scott, though, has clearly proposed eliminating at least 5 percent of the state's workforce his first year with more to come, and the savings appear to be hundreds of millions of dollars. So we rate this promise In the Works.

Gov. Rick Scott Budget, 2011-2013

Year-over-Year Job Changes and Percentages

2010-2011 Total Jobs...........126,764.50

2011-2012 Total Jobs...........118,083.35

Jobs cut Year 1....................8,681.15.......6.85%


Vacancies Eliminated............2,030.50.......1.60%

2012-2013 Total Jobs............113,977.35

Jobs cut Year 2.....................4,106.00.......3.48%

Job Changes and Percentages Over Two Years

2010-2011 Total Jobs............126,764.50

2012-2013 Total Jobs............113,977.35

Job Cuts in Two Years...........12,787.15......10.09%


Rick Scott for Governor's campaign website, "Reduce government spending," 2010 campaign

St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald, "Gov. Scott proposes spending cuts, lower taxes," Feb. 8, 2011

Naked Politics blog, "A cheat sheet to Rick Scott's tax and spending ($7B!) cuts," Feb. 7, 2011

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "Florida Gov. Rick Scott proposes $4.6 billion in budget cuts," Feb. 7, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott's budget proposal, "Reduce Government Spending," Feb. 7, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott, spreadsheet of job cuts, Feb. 7, 2011