Many people are aware of Gov. Rick Snyder’s questionable past business practices, but he is apparently bringing some of those practices with him to the public sector when he was busted last week for cooking the books to try and make it look like public employees are overpaid.
The only plan Snyder has let out of the bag on how he plans to make up an estimated $1 billion budget deficit is on the backs of public employees, despite his constant talking point about “shared sacrifice” while he gives his cabinet large raises. To that end, Snyder released a report last week that said public employees are compensated more than double private sector workers.
But the fact is that study after study says when educational level is taken account, public employees are underpaid, like the report last August by respected Michigan State University professor of economics Charles Ballard that said state employees earn less than their private-sector counterparts with comparable educational attainment. The Ballad report also confirmed what we already know: state government is smaller now than it was in 1973. Doing more with less would seem to meet another of Snyder’s meaningless corporate buzz words, “value-based budgeting”
To reinforced and confirm Ballard’s work and debunk Snyder’s cooked study, a study released Thursday by Citizens for Accountability and Reform and the Economic Policy Institute found that public employees in the state are generally paid about market wages, but most state employees are below those market rates. The report showed that after correcting for education levels, state workers have total compensation 9.67 percent less than their private sector counterparts.
According to subscription only Gongwer, Jeffrey Keefe, a Rutgers University economics professor and author of the study, and of several others recently showing public employees around the nation are paid on par with or less than private sector, said the key failing of most studies showing otherwise is not correcting for education level.
"The single most important factor in determining somebody's level of earning in the U.S. is their level of education," he said. For Michigan public employees, 53 percent have at least a bachelor's degree and 17 percent have no more than a high school diploma. Among private sector workers, only 31 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher and 37 percent have no more than a high school diploma.