Published: Aug 27, 2010 11:27 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 27, 2010 5:58 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Forget the Grinch who stole Christmas.  Lee County government could end paid holidays for workers.   The money-saving idea is buried in the 126 pages of budget planning documents, released Thursday.

"It is take, take take," complained worker Amy Hofschneider.   "It will crush morale.  People are struggling now.   We have hard-working people here, women who are supporting husbands who've been out of work for long periods of time.   But we will do what we have to do."

The proposal would cut out 11 paid holidays, and save 5,320,000 dollars.

"Wow, I had not heard that," said Denise Parker, a Lee worker.   "I will just wait and see.  There are so many ifs and buts, you just have to see what they end up doing.   You can get your mind so twisted, trying to figure out what they are going to do."

Another worker, Julie Ende-Killion, told WINK:   it would be okay to accept the unpaid holidays, if it meant, keeping a job.   "There is no work out there.  Many of our ladies are supporting the household because the husband is out of work.   We are just hanging on."

Workers already are facing between 8 and 12 furlough days, or unpaid days off, a year.   The unpaid holidays would double the loss of income for workers.

The proposal would affect the 2000 employees under control of the Commissioners and county manager.    Employees in other parts of county government, such as the clerk's office, would not be affected.

Commissioners have the final say.  They will start their final budget work-up next Tuesday.