CONNECTICUT PUBLIC EMPLOYEES LIVE ON THE EASY STREET
April 28, 2006
While job creation in the nation rebounded strongly since 2000, Connecticut's private-sector employment picture remains grim, says the Yankee Institute. Furthermore, since the early 1990s, no other state in the country has had such stagnation in employment.
Despite dwindling private-sector employment, researchers found that the public sector has experienced:
- Increased employment -- between 1970 and 2000, employment in Connecticut's state government grew six times faster than the general population, and municipal employment grew four times faster than population.
- More unionization -- some 88 percent of state employees are covered by collective-bargaining agreements, whereas the state's private-worker unionization is 8 percent, down from a high of 24 percent in 1970.
- Better pay -- in the Hartford Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), mean hourly earnings for public-sector employees are 37 percent higher than for private-sector workers.
Moreover, Connecticut's public-employee retirement system (defined-benefit pension plan) poses big burdens, say researchers:
- Connecticut's teacher-retirement fund has a $5 billion gap between assets and liabilities. Thus, the unfunded liability for all state employees is $7 billion.
- Retiring teachers in the City of Waterbury's school district are owed an average of $38,542 each for unused sick days, totaling $7.2 million, say researchers. This is enough to fund salaries of 182 entry-level teachers at $39,569.
Source: D. Dowd Muska, "Connecticut Public Employees Live on Easy Street," Heartland Institute, March 2006.
Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues