Public employees get paid more for working less in 2009

From the Senate Republican Office

New information from the Department of Administrative Services reveals that the average Oregon state public employee will earn $897 more in compensation in 2009 despite working fewer days. Such an unprecedented windfall in an unfriendly economic climate is thanks in large part to massive pay increases and one-of-a-kind health benefits.

“Oregon taxpayers are essentially paying more for less service,” said Senator Ted Ferrioli, Senate Republican Leader (R-John Day). “Almost every business, large and small, in the state is cutting back, reducing payroll and scaling back health benefits. But public employee unions continue to ride the gravy train straight to the bank, while taxpayers get sent a larger and larger tax bill.”

In 2008, the average public employee union member received compensation of $68,131 per year ($47,724 in salary, $20,407 in benefits). In 2009, the same employee will take home $69,028 in compensation ($48,459 in salary, $20,569 in benefits), even after $2,682 has been deducted for furlough days.

“State government continues to squeeze Oregonians, many of whom are unemployed and underemployed, in order to offer public employees one of the richest benefit packages available,” said Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls). “Meanwhile, Oregon hemorrhages jobs so fast that the only thing keeping our unemployment rate steady is that many people are too discouraged to keep looking for work. Government grows on the back of Oregon businesses, and thanks to spending excesses like these, Oregon employers are being crushed.”

During the last budget cycle, in one of the worst recessions of the past 50 years, public employees received pay increases that will cost taxpayers $248 million over the next two years. In addition, 100% of a unionized public employee’s health insurance premium is paid for by taxpayers.