Public sector compensation in Wisconsin remains excessive

As the recall election in Wisconsin approaches, this paper on public employee compensation in Wisconsin is worth a look. Andrew Biggs of AEI and Jason Richwine of Heritage find that even with the passage of Act 10, the Budget Repair Act that led to battle being waged by the public sector unions and their leftist comrades, the average Wisconsin state worker receives total compensation including benefits of $81,637, compared to $67,068 for a similarly-skilled private worker — a difference of $14,569.

The salaries of the the two sets of employees are just about equal. However, even with the reform, pension benefits for Wisconsin public employees are roughly 4.5 times more valuable than private sector levels while health benefits are about twice as generous as those paid by larger private sector Wisconsin employers. This difference results in a combined salary-benefits compensation premium of around 22 percent for state workers over private sector workers, with varying but often larger pay advantages for local government employees, the study finds.

Before the Act, the premium was 28 percent. So public sector employees been adversely affected by the Act, to be sure. But given the large degree to which they continue to be over-compensated, it’s easy to see why a majority of Wisconsin voters appear unsympathetic to their grievances.

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