Thursday, January 20, 2011

"WAGE WARS" - from the Lansing State Journal, Sun. Jan. 16, 2011

Several studies have been completed in recent years regarding the comparison of state employee compensation to those in the private sector. Mackinaw Center's report is first, BUT PLEASE READ ON!!! Here are the studies sited in the LSJ last Sunday:

• In 2009, an analysis by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a think tank that examines free-market solutions for government problems, found that classified state employees in Michigan on average earned $25.02 an hour - 33 percent more than the $18.89 in the private sector in Midwestern states. The center found a similar disparity in employee benefits. It concluded that state employees receive $14.90 an hour in benefits, compared with $8.24 in the private sector in Midwestern states.

• In September, the Economic Policy Institute concluded that state employees nationwide receive on average 7.6 percent less pay than similar private-sector employees. However, the same study reported that state employees received better benefits than those in the private sector. Health insurance accounted for 6.3 percent to 8.3 percent of private-sector compensation, but 11.2 percent for state employees.

• In 2009, a union-funded study by MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, economist Charles Ballard concluded that:
- State employees with BACHELOR’S degrees earn about 72 cents for every dollar earned by a private sector worker with a bachelor's degree.
- State workers with master's degrees earn about 62 cents on the dollar compared to other workers with such degrees.

Ballard concluded the state saved more than $3.7 billion between 2001 and 2008 in state wage and benefit concessions. As employee pay has been squeezed, Ballard argued employee workloads have increased; the number of state employees has shrunk from about 62,000 in 2001 to about 51,000 today - a reduction of 18 percent.

• In November 2008, the Michigan House Fiscal Agency released a report that concluded that state employees with no college degree earned more than their counterparts in the private sector. By contrast, state employees with college degrees earned less. According to the report, about half of all state employees have college degrees; that's about twice the rate for all residents statewide. The study also found state employees on average paid $142 monthly for a family health insurance plan in 2008; the cost was about $138 in the private sector in 2007.