(Tallahassee.com) - Florida's state government workforce remains the leanest in the country.
Taxpayers spent just $37 per resident on state government during in 2012, according to the latest state Workforce Report released by the Department of Management Services.
That's nearly half the 2012 national average of $75, and about 16 percent less than Arizona, the state with second-cheapest government workforce. Florida also employs fewer state workers per resident than any other state.
The efficiency of state government is a point of pride for Gov. Rick Scott, who is expected to release his budget recommendations for next year in the coming weeks. He has already pledged to cut taxes and fees by $500 million.
"Governor Scott wants Floridians to pay fewer taxes," Scott spokesman John Tupps wrote in a statement. "That's why he has made government more efficient, and our state government workforce is at the lowest level per capita in state history."
The state continued to shed jobs during the 2012-13 fiscal year, the report shows, but layoffs were on the decline and so was turnover.
The turnover rate, which spiked during the previous fiscal year, fell from 8.3 percent to 7.7 percent. But there was a slight uptick in the number of workers who left for state-government employment elsewhere.
State Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, said the report shows that "our state workers are underpaid."
The report shows the average Career-Service state worker brings home a salary of $34,384, while the overall average was $38,299 (In 2012, Florida's average wage for all industries was $43,210).
State government salaries had been more or less flat during the six years they went without an across the board raise, but they do not reflect the raises approved last year by Scott and the Legislature, which will show up in next year's report. They also don't include benefits like health insurance or pension contributions.
As the seat of state government, Leon County is home to more than 19,000 state workers - far more than any other county.
The county's legislative delegation is set to meet this evening. All four members backed the push for raises last year, and Montford said he expects local lawmakers to support another raise. "In the business world, you take care of your employees or they leave. In state government, we need to take care of our employees," he said. "We're definitely going to be pushing for a raise, it's just a matter of how much."