Florida TaxWatch: Taxpayers funding at least 197 state gov't communications and legislative affairs employees

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Florida TaxWatch President and Chief Executive Officer Dominic M. Calabro today released a report on the number and salaries of communications and legislative affairs staff on the state payroll. The report found Florida taxpayers are funding the salaries of 126 communications department workers, earning a total of more than $7.3 million annually and 71 legislative affairs employees earning more than $4.3 million a year. As of April 2011, the combined cost to the taxpayers for the two departments without including benefits packages came to $11,700,579 a year, or $975,048 per month, or $32,056 per day. When benefits are included at the standard rate of 20 percent, the total annual outlay for these positions rises by $2,340,115 for a total of $14,040,694, or $1,170,057 a month, or $38,467 each day.

“There is no excuse for government waste at any level at any time,” said Calabro.”Every tax dollar spent should gain the highest return for the taxpayer. In a budget year where critical programs are being cut to balance the budget, it is time that our leaders take a serious look at all positions, determine which are essential to the mission of our government and cut the excess. This is what Florida families and businesses have been doing and must continue to streamline. The levels and number of administrative and support bureaucratic staff has been forced to shrink, but too many in our state bureaucracy defy the gravity of downsizing.”

In April 2011, Florida TaxWatch contacted every state agency requesting the names and titles of employees whose primary duties involved communications or legislative affairs and carefully cross-checked and verified each name against the list found onwww.floridahasarighttoknow.com.Many of the titles were surprisingly misleading. Of the communications workers, only 59 percent have titles that would readily identify them as such. Legislative affairs workers fare even lower, coming in at just 51 percent.

The report also found the mean salary of communication employees to be $59,173 and $61,540 for legislative affairs employees. Additionally, there are five communications workers and three legislative affairs workers earning six figures. Both communications and legislative affairs staffers on average draw a much higher salary than the approximately $41,000 that is the average annual earnings for Floridians in all industries.

A full copy of the report is availablehere.

 

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.