Democratic solution to Illinois' financial mess: Increase labor costs

Incredible as it may seem in the midst of Illinois' financial crisis, the state payroll continues to grow. Reported the Illinois Policy Institute:

While other states and the private sector tighten their belts, public employee spending in Illinois continues to grow. Outlays for salaries, benefits and pensions of state workers now top $9 billion and will increase moving forward. The number of full-time equivalent state employees rose from 53,227 to 55,497 from 2009 to 2010 and is expected to go up again this year.

The Institute noted that Illinois handed out pay increase to 46,000 state workers on July 1. Among them were 43 raises averaging 11.4 percent to his staff.

Here are the Institutes recommendations to "rights size" labor costs:

·         Reduce the number of full-time equivalent jobs funded by the state

·         Address pay disparities between public sector and private sector jobs

·         Reform pension benefits for current employees

·         Implement pension funding reform, using the principles of the Pension Funding & Fairness Act

·         Pursue consumer driven health care options

·         Eliminate programs that benefit small groups of workers at the expense of taxpayers, like the Upward Mobility Program

·         Adopt the suggestion of the Sunshine Commission and eliminate duplicative and ineffective programs

·         Use a Council on Efficient Government to streamline state operations


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  • Maybe the state is following its own version of Keynesian economics: i.e. the myriad of state workers spend their paychecks at Walmart and 5% comes back to the state in the sales tax, plus another 5% to the municipality, Todd, the RTA, etc. Probably true, but nothing is being produced here to generate economic growth; not that the Democrats care, except for Quinn and his gourmet carp grant.

    The theory is probably the same as my (maybe facetious, maybe not) suggestion that the CTA could wipe out its deficit by investing in enough PowerBall tickets. I'm sure the people at the CTA who thought locking in $4.69 a gallon for diesel fuel could figure out how to mathematically control the game to assure that it gets a $93 million payout. Even if the odds, according to the PowerBall site, are 1 in 195,249,054.00.

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