Nikki Fried blasts Gov. DeSantis plan to ax 1,000 state jobs while ‘bragging’ about a surplus

Fried DeSantis
Florida has the smallest state government workforce per capita and gets the most bang for its buck in worker costs.

A preview of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed 2024 state budget has drawn the ire of Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried, who argued it does not align with the true needs of residents.

It’s also needlessly cruel, she said, for including a plan to slash more than 1,000 government jobs while the state enjoys a sizable surplus.

“Instead of addressing the real crises facing Florida, Ron is planning to put 1,000 state employees out of a job while bragging about running a budget surplus,” Fried said in a statement.

“Ron says that his budget ‘respects the taxpayers’ of Florida, but his refusal to address property insurance, the housing crisis, and the cost of living are a slap in the face to struggling Floridians.”

DeSantis previewed his “Focus on Florida” budget plan Tuesday at a Press Conference in Marco Island. He said the state will “continue to be aggressive in repaying debt,” the cost of which, in part, will be compensated by Florida having to pay more than 1,000 fewer employee paychecks.

“We are also going to be reducing the size of government by eliminating over 1,000 positions throughout the state government,” he said to applause. “That’s going to help us realign resources to focus on efficiency.”

State financial analyses, he added, found the budget will produce a $16.3 billion surplus.

Exactly 407 jobs at the Department of Corrections, 458 Department of Health and more than 100 Department of Transportation positions are headed for the proverbial chopping block, according to the budget website.

An FAQ the Governor’s Office included with the Tuesday announcement shows a net decrease of 1,024 full-time equivalent positions year-over-year. That includes 49 FTE positions in the state court system that have long been vacant.

Since taking office Jan. 8, 2019, a press release from the Governor’s Office said, DeSantis has led Florida in paying down nearly a quarter of the state’s outstanding debt. But according to Florida’s Annual Workforce Report, that endeavor has had little to do with slashing government worker rolls.

At 84 full-time state workers for every 10,000 residents, Florida had the smallest state government workforce per capita in the nation in 2021, the year for which full information is most recently available. The cost was $110 in Texas, $111 in California and $123 in New York. The national average was $171.

The state’s personnel cost of those workers — $39 per Floridian — was also lower than anywhere else and less than half that of California ($89), New York ($87) and the national average ($91).

Fried ran for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor last year but lost to former Governor and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in the Primary. She won a race to lead the state party in February, one month after Manny Diaz resigned from the post in the wake of a disastrous Midterm for Florida Democrats.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Richard C Russell

    December 5, 2023 at 1:59 pm

    Finally Ronny is doing something that makes sense: our country cannot continue to employ everyone’s relative in a government position that spends most of the day walking the halls, socializing. No private industry could survive if it employed twice or triple the amount people needed per actual job! Clean house, fire the deadwood and only retain the best employees (based upon merit, not seniority or DEI).

  • JD

    December 5, 2023 at 2:29 pm

    That surplus and firing is because he needs it for his cronies.

    Florida grift, this is the FLGOP way (said like it is on the Madalorean)

  • MK

    December 5, 2023 at 2:36 pm

    Democrats better get there act together. We can’t go through another 8 years of this. Charlie Christ better stay out of the way after these last few failures.

  • Thomas Kaspar

    December 5, 2023 at 3:49 pm

    Nikki Fried is an irrelevant DNC space cadet .

  • Bill Pollard

    December 5, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    Who says state employees do nothing. This is an age old gripe that is baseless.

    • Linda

      December 12, 2023 at 3:24 pm

      true.. i work for the State, and we keep losing employees due to the pay and the amount of work we are required to do. The prisons are understaffed to the point it is not safe for the officers. So is this why the governor is going to send national guards to work in the prisons?

      • rick whitaker

        December 12, 2023 at 3:36 pm

        linda, hang in there, maybe the next gov. will be a dem and give you a well deserved raise.

  • John Smith

    December 8, 2023 at 5:41 am

    The jobs, such as those in the state court system, are “vacant” because the pay is abysmally low and unable to be filled. Instead of addressing the problem, poof, he’s eliminating the positions in some warped view of efficiency so the remaining employees do double work for no additional pay.

Comments are closed.


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