Not to go all Undercaffeinated on you all, but today I post on a political issue. I know, I know.
The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority has released a press… um.. release stating that the city could save all kinds of moolah if we slashed city employee benefits. They compare the amount they employees pay to some “average worker” numbers and that kind of thing. In summary, they’re saying that if we worked with the state govt to make the benefits packages less awesome, we’d save. They present these packages as disgustingly good and vastly expensive.
Here’s the thing.
#1. Duh. Benefits, particulary healthcare, have become veddy veddy expensive recently, and employers everywhere are freaking out about it. So, easy target.
#2: When talking about public employee costs, you should really be making your comparisons based on total compensation, that being salary + bens. Nice benefits packages are a good way to entice people to work thankless and dangerous service jobs with traditionally low salaries. The taxpayer doesn’t want anybody getting rich off his dime, so sal stays lousy. Bens can increase without anybody getting too wound up about it.
Until now, that is. Good for the Fiscal whatzit for looking at it, but before we go and slash the bens of people that haven’t received a raise in years, let’s make sure we look at the whole story.