This is worth plucking from a Capitol Confidential story today:

State employees get a 3 percent pay hike this Friday, because lawmakers in the House and Senate failed to veto it earlier this year. This will be the 11th raise they've received since 2002. In addition, individual employees are constantly getting "step" or seniority pay hikes, longevity boosts, and more.

On top of all that, taxpayers have had to continuously kick in more to pay the increasing cost of their health bennies.

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All told, state employees receive an average compensation package (benefits included) that costs taxpayers $93,039. State salaries surpass private levels in many job categories. And government employees at all levels in Michigan receive benefits that exceed private-sector averages by $5.7 billion annually.

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Most state employees are dedicated and work hard, but the process of setting their pay has been corrupted by a system that grants them both "civil service" job protections and unionized collective bargaining privileges. A recent article about the (relatively recent) rise of public-sector unionism describes how government employee unions are "bankrupting states and municipalities" because they "achieve influence on both sides of the bargaining table by making campaign contributions and organizing get-out-the-vote drives to elect politicians who then control the negotiations over their pay, benefits, and work rules." (See also "Public Sector Unions — The New Tammany Hall" on this blog.)

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