Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Public Paydays & Pensions

A little-noticed study from a government watchdog says public pay and pensions continue to outstrip private sector compensation.

Public Paydays & Pensions

If you don't work for state gubment, this isn't going to make you happy.

A new but little-noticed report on state employees' pay and pensions from a Washington-based watchdog group says that nationally state workers take home more in wages and benefits, including pensions, than their counterparts in the private sector.

The report by Citizens Against Government Waste is called "Public Servants or Privileged Class" and you can read the whole thing here.

It's "fast facts" include data showing:

-- no state pays its workers the same or less than private-sector employees in the exact same occupation.

-- some categories such as architect and engineering, protective services and "education, training and library" pay 40% per hour more than their private counterparts.

-- Pennsylvania is among the 15 worst states in compensation discrepancy, and Harrisburg get's a shout-out as one of the nation's cities facing bankruptcy at least in part because of this.

You might recall that the state faces a multi-billion-dollar pension crisis which naturally your Legislature is dragging its feet on.

You might also recall reports earlier years detailing examples of what can fairly be called effin' ridiculous pension payments to some of the state's finest.

Need a memory jog? How about retired Penn State prof Stephen Benkovic's annual $443,879; retired Penn State VP Gary Schultz (awaiting trail in connection to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal), $330,699; former Philly Rep. Frank Oliver's $286,118 a-year; estimates that jailed former House Speaker Bill DeWeese, who forfeited his pension because of his convicted, would have had a take of nearly $3 million.

And, according to reporting last May in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, we pay 658 retired state and school employees more than $100,000 a year in benefits.

Want a state job?

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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