Florida has leanest state government in U.S. — is that a good thing?

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Taxpayers pay less for government workers in Florida than any other state in the country, writes Tallahassee.com reporter Travis Pillow.

Floridians paid just $37 in taxes per resident on state government in 2012, nearly half the national average, according to a recent Department of Management Services Workforce Report. The national average for state workers is $75 per resident.

Second least-expensive government workers is in Arizona, and Florida workers cost about 16 percent less. The Sunshine State also employs fewer workers per resident than any other state.

Gov. Rick Scott, who pledges to cut taxes and fees by another $500 million, takes pride in the effectiveness of his administration and will soon release his budget recommendations for next year.

“Governor Scott wants Floridians to pay fewer taxes,” Scott representative John Tupps told Pillow. “That’s why he has made government more efficient, and our state government workforce is at the lowest level per capita in state history.”

State agencies continued to cut jobs during the 2012-13 fiscal years, and both layoffs and turnover are declining.

Turnover may have spiked in the last year, falling from 8.3 percent to 7.7 percent, but Florida also saw a slight uptick in the number of workers leaving the state government for jobs in the private sector.

The Workforce report shows “our state workers are underpaid,” said Democratic State Sen. Bill Montford in a statement.

Career-Service state workers take home an average salary of $34,384 a year, with an overall average of $38,299. At the same time, the average wage in Florida for all industries was $43,210.

Pillow notes that during the past six years, state government salaries have remained relatively flat,  as workers went without a widespread raise. There were raises approved last year by both Scott and the Legislature, but they will not show up in reports until next year. DMS reporting does not consider health insurance benefits or pension contributions.

Leon County — the home base of Florida government — has more than 19,000 state workers, the most of any other county.

The legislative delegation from Leon will meet Thursday night, with four members supporting raises last year. Montford expects local lawmakers to push fellow lawmakers to support additional raises.

“In the business world, you take care of your employees, or they leave,” Montford said. “In state government, we need to take care of our employees.”

“We’re definitely going to be pushing for a raise,” he added, “it’s just a matter of how much.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.