State Budgets and Public Employees

State Budgets and Public Employees

Fiscal problems in many states are prompting new scrutiny of public employee salaries, pensions and benefits: What shrinking state revenues could mean for the bargaining power of public employees.

State and local government workers have reason to feel somewhat besieged. Declining revenues in many states have compelled politicians to take a hard look at expenses, and increasingly, the focus has been on salary and benefit packages promised to public employees. Research suggests that compared to the private sector, some state and local workers do earn more, but critics argue targeting public employees' wage and benefit packages and their collective bargaining power is an easy way to side step more basic issues such as the need for economic growth. Join us for a discussion of state budgets and public sector employees.

Guests

Lee Saunders

Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees,

David Leonhardt

columnist, New York Times

Kim Rueben

public finance economist, The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.

Fred Siegel

senior fellow, Center for State and Local Leadership at the Manhattan Institute

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The Diane Rehm Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.