March 8, 2010

Stop the presses! Seattle Times busts the myth of "high paid" state employees - and the my that the Seattle Times can't give state employees a fair shake!

The Seattle Times on Saturday busted two myths—that state employees make more than those in the private sector (and therefore should sacrifice even more) and the myth that the Seattle Times can’t give a fair shake to state employees.

To be fair, it’s been the editorial pages that have called for the state to stick it to you even more, not the news pages.

The analysis done by the Times compared some 200 standard occupational categories of state employees. It found that the median pay of state employees exceeded private sector workers in only 74 of the 200 categories. Median pay means half earn more, half less.

This finding left anti-state employee groups like the Evergreen Freedom Foundation and the Building Industry Association of Washington without their typically snarky comebacks.

And Sen. Joe Zarelli, who is leading the charge to take away state employee step increases, deflected.

“I don’t know,” he told the Times when asked if state workers are compensated better than private-sector workers.

Zarelli’s comeback: “Right now, our issue isn’t about competitive pay, it’s about balancing the budget and everybody sharing in that process.”

After sacrificing $1 billion last year, state employees would agree it’s time for more shared sacrifices!

The Times quoted an expert on state-employee compensation to verify its findings.

“In general, private-sector pay is higher than in the public sector, and the higher up the occupational hierarchy the job is, the greater the advantage for the private sector,” said Rick Kearney, director of the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina State University.

Read the entire Seattle Times story here.

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