Study Says Public Sector Workers Aren’t Overpaid

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STATE – A study conducted by a Rutgers University professor determined that New Jersey’s public workers are not overpaid compared to those in the private sector with a comparable level of education.

The conclusion likely comes as unwelcome news to Gov. Chris Christie, who has spent much of the year blaming public workers’ salaries and benefits for New Jersey’s high property taxes.

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Rutgers University Associate Professor Jeffrey H. Keefe examined state government and private sector earnings data collected by the U.S. Department of Labor for a paper released by the Economic Policy Institute last week.

Keefe found that state and local governments pay college-educated workers an average of 10 percent less than private employers, though public workers had better benefits packages. Keefe determined that “there is no significant difference in total compensation between full-time state and local employees and private-sector employees.”

“Public-sector workers’ compensation is neither the cause, nor can it be the solution to the state’s financial problems,” Keefe wrote. “Only an economic recovery can begin to plug the hole in the state’s budget.”


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