Government employees thrive

We’ve known for some years in Kansas that the number of state government employees has been increasing rapidly, outpacing the growth of the private sector.

Now the Topeka Capital-Journal reports that these government employees are doing very well, in terms of salary and benefits.

That newspaper’s recent editorial Earnings gap widens between private, govt. employees reports this:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public employees across the country earned benefits worth $13.38 an hour in December 2008, compared with benefits worth $7.98 an hour earned by private-sector employees. The overall compensation — wages and benefits — for state and local workers was $39.25 an hour in 2008. That was $11.90 an hour more than wages and benefits earned in the private sector. In 2007, that gap was $11.31 an hour.

These high and rapidly growing employment costs are a problem for taxpayers, especially in tough budget times. Says the editorial: “We can fault elected officials for continually increasing the load on taxpayers who don’t work for a government entity in favor of those who do … it might be a good time to slow the growth in public sector wages and benefits.”

The problem with wages and benefits, however, is just a part of the overall problem in Kansas. Capital-Journal news reporting (KPERS problems compound) has reported on the problems with underfunding of the Kansas state employee retirement system. This remains a looming problem.

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