January 30, 2006
A new study of wages and benefits in Connecticut finds that compensation for government work in the state is completely out of whack with the private sector, according to co-authors D. Dowd Muska and Philip Gressel of the Yankee Institute.
- The unionization rate has dropped to single digits in Connecticut's private sector, but the portion of public employees covered by collective-bargaining agreements is over 80 percent.
- In most job categories, public sector employees earn more than private sector workers -- sometime as much as 95 percent more -- and health care benefits in the public sector are substantially better, including the portion of insurance plan cost that is covered by employers and the quality and variety of coverage offered.
- Paid leave is also substantially more generous in the public sector.
- While defined-benefit pension plans are shrinking and job growth may be stagnant in the private sector, they continue to remain common in government employment.
- But strong anecdotal evidence suggests that misbehavior, cronyism, nepotism and even criminal activity may be far more common in the public sector.
However, there are promising reforms available -- including privatization and competitive contracting -- that could help reduce the immense cost of public employees, but they require political courage on the part of Connecticut's elected officials, say Muska and Gressel.
Source: D. Dowd Muska and Philip Gressel, "The Two Connecticuts" Yankee Institute, January 10, 2006.
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