How Much Union Members Are Paid, And How Much Taxpayers Can Afford

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With the third highest property taxes in the country, a major encumbrance within an overall anti-taxpayer and anti-business climate that has dropped Rhode Island into bottom-10 rankings in a number of critical national indexes, the excessive costs of collectively bargained government services can be directly linked to this statewide problem.
According to our new report, we calculate that Ocean State taxpayers are dishing out an extra $888 million per year, providing up to a 27% total compensation premium for government workers. These conclusions are consistent with previous national studies.
With almost two-thirds of these excessive costs being heaped upon municipal taxpayers, our report further estimates that property taxes could be reduced by as much as 25%… if more reasonable, market-based collective bargaining terms were to be negotiated.
With the 9th most favorable pro-union laws, and despite these entrenched institutional benefits, Rhode Island regularly sees its public employee unions seek even further unfair advantage by demanding greater legislative protections and by encouraging their union executives to seek state and local elected office.
Treating the 10% of unionized government employees more like the 90% of the rest of us are treated is not only more fair, but also builds trust that government is looking-out after everyone the same.
We must find a better balance between how much union members are paid and how much taxpayers can afford.


  • Rhett Hardwick

    “Treating the 10% of unionized government employees more like the 90% of the rest of us are treated is not only more fair, but also builds trust that government is looking-out after everyone the same.”

    I don’t understand where the 10% comes from. Surely it is not 10% of government employees. The last census data I looked at showed 23% of all working people in RI drawing a government paycheck (including federal), less than half of them are unionized? Or, are less than half drawing an RI paycheck?

    • Rhett Hardwick

      I don’t get to watch as much as I did, but I see Massachusetts seems to be “going private” at a very slow rate. Most prominent is that Waste Management, Inc has replaced city “sanitation” departments. I assume that the “prevailing wage law” requires them to be paid union rates, but the pension problem is solved. With the number of “landscapers” around, I wonder why “Park” and “Forestry” departments exist.

    • ShannonEntropy

      When you add up all the kids too young to work but sucking up local property tax & State Education tax dollars; single moms on TANF / SNAP / Section 8 housing; State employees; Medicaid / SSI recipients; Federal employees; and folks living on Social Security benefits or on SSDI — much more than half our population is either totally or in large part dependent on ‘Uncle Sugar’ gum-mint largess payments

      The roads & freeways are so crowded around here even on weekday afternoons. After I retired I used to grumble “Duzn’t anyone WORK in this State ??”

      Now I realize… they mostly don’t

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