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August 2012 Policy Study, Number 12-8

   

Iowa’s Privileged Class: State Government Employees

   

Conclusion

   

 

Some may say, particularly those working for the state government, that it is not state-government wages that are too high, but rather private-sector wages are too low. While those of us working in the private sector would always appreciate higher wages, the difference is that in the private sector, a business cannot raise the prices of its goods and services and compel its customers to pay the higher prices. Consumers have the choice to shop elsewhere or not to pay the price at all by not buying that product. However, if the state government needs additional funds to pay its employees, it has the option of raising taxes, and its “customers” – the taxpayers of the state – must pay those higher taxes.

 

Those attempting to justify the nation’s largest Pay Gap between state-government workers and private-sector workers in Iowa are often those who benefit from that Pay Gap – state government employees, or those they can convince to make their case for them, who obviously have a self interest in preserving the Pay Gap. Many have made false claims about what our study said, and claimed that those falsehoods have been discredited, but no one has ever been able to discredit our actual study, based on the government’s own data.

In 2010, Iowa’s state-government workers received an average wage that was 150.28 percent of what the average private-sector worker in Iowa was paid. Given Iowa has the nation’s largest Pay Gap, isn’t it time we take a hard look at state-government employee salaries?

 

   

 

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