ON-Lion Letter
State and local government employees in Wisconsin make considerably more in base salary and more in total compensation than their peers in the private sector, according to a November study from the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy.

Using U.S. Census Bureau data from 2007 to 2011, the study found that Wisconsin's public-sector workers take home, on average, 5% more in base salary than comparable private-sector peers in Wisconsin.  When factoring total compensation -- including benefits -- state and local government employees in the state make 19% more than their private-sector counterparts.

"The argument that government workers are underpaid compared to similar employees in the private sector is an absolute myth," according to Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, which is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.  "The facts are clear:  when you compare the pay and compensation levels for similar employees inside and outside of government, the government workers in Wisconsin make more than employees in the private sector -- much more."

As the controversy surrounding Wisconsin's recent public-sector labor reforms reached its peak last year, a common talking point used by labor advocates was that government workers deserved greater protections and overall benefits because public-sector employee pay was lower than comparable occupations in the private sector.  The MacIver Institute study obliterates that theory.
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