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Study Finds State Workers' Benefits Grow 3 Times Faster Than Private Sector

STOCKTON (CBS13) - California's cash crisis isn't stopping state worker salaries from growing three times faster than the private sector.

Stockton is the largest city to file for bankruptcy. Part of that has to do with pensions, and new research really shows how much state workers are making.

"There is this expectation, or entitlement mentality, among many public employees," said John Coupal with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is releasing findings after poring over state worker pay between 2005 and 2010. It shows public workers' pay and benefits grew three times faster than average Californians. If state workers' salaries grew at the same rate as the private sector, the report claims the state would've saved $2.1 billion.

That savings could have paid for 25,000 teachers, or even housed 42,000 more prisoners.

The report finds even during a recession the number of state workers grew faster than the state population.

"We're not making sensible decisions," taxpayer Carolyn Andal said. "We are going on emotions. We are trying to please everybody. We need to get tough -- say no when we have to."

Watchdogs warn that the state needs to change its financial course to save inevitable disaster.

"You can only do that for so long and ultimately you run out of money; and somewhere along the line, the issue has to be resolved one way or another," said Steve Frates, president of the Center for Government Analysis.

Also, if the state didn't increase the number of state workers, it would have saved another $900 million, according to the report.

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