Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
According a recent report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, the gains that the legislature and governor like to claim as a veritable bounty – because of huge cuts to government jobs and spending – might actually be ruining the parts of the state where government is required to make things work.
The new study points out that Florida now has half of the national average of state workers per citizen – 111 per 10,000 in 2012 – while its population has grown by four million since 1998. The budget has soared by $25 million since 2000 and the state-employed workforce has been slashed by 9.6 percent since taking in this decade.
The Department of Children and Families has taken a publicized beating for literally losing numerous children in this period, 477 children didn’t have to die between 2008 and 2013, the Miami Herald reports, but if you lose nearly 50 percent of your staff, cracks will appear and be fallen through. The Department of Environmental Protection similarly has been forced to feign enforcement after losing nearly 500 employees in the last 15 years. And, even with all of the noisemaking about the Obamacare website not working last year, Florida’s unemployment website, CONNECT, caused arguably worse damage. A backlog of people in need of services that are legally paid for by employers was left out, forcing the state to hire an additional 250 people to handle the fracas.
Even amid partisan bickering about state government’s place, smaller government is expensive in unexpected ways.