Press Releases


WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), will be in Los Angeles and San Francisco starting Monday, October 8, 2012, and is available for interviews regarding CAGW’s latest report, Public Servants or Privileged Class: How State Government Employees are Paid Better than their Private-Sector Counterparts. The report analyzes state government employee wages and benefits in all 50 states, and for the first time, provides a detailed comparison of compensation for public-and-private workers in the same job categories, from architecture and engineering to transportation. Every state has a total grade from A to F, and individual job categories are also graded. California, where the gap between public and private sector pay is among the nation’s largest, was one of five states to receive a failing grade.

With $500 billion in unfunded liabilities for state and local pensions and a budget deficit of $16 billion, California’s dire financial straits are well-known. Several cities there, including San Bernardino and Stockton, have declared bankruptcy, and others are trending in that direction. In 2010, San Diego began shuttering several fire houses each day in order to pare costs, and in San Jose, the city did not have the money to open four newly constructed libraries and has laid off firefighters and police officers.

California’s public sector employees enjoy the third largest advantage in compensation over their private sector counterparts of any state. CAGW’s report found that in California, public sector employees are compensated at an average hourly rate of $12.45 more than private sector workers who perform the same jobs, a difference of 41 percent. Such high compensation for public workers is a major driver of California’s looming pension crisis, which threatens many cities, including Los Angeles, where pension reform has met stiff resistance despite the fact that pension payments make up 20 percent of the city’s budget.

“Bankrupt cities like Stockton and San Bernardino have learned the hard way that while overcompensating public employees – especially with generous retirement pensions – might be politically expedient, there comes a time to pay the piper,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Without real changes to the existing system, California may find itself insolvent. This report, the first of CAGW’s new public pension education project, is intended to spur debate and action on public sector employee compensation reform.”

Last week’s release of the report was accompanied by a video, which can be seen here.

Contact Leslie K. Paige or Luke Gelber to arrange an interview.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

Citizens Against Government Waste
Leslie K. Paige, 202-467-5334
Luke Gelber, 202-467-5318

Source: Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)