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Mon August 17, 2009
Economist hopes Speaker Dillon looks at study before moving on plan
By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
EAST LANSING, MI – A new study shows state employees are making less this year than they were last year, but paying twice as much for their health benefits.
Economist Charles Ballard says the most surprising figure he found while conducting the study was the 11,000 state jobs lost since 2001. He says it's possible the workforce was too bloated at some point, but the state has now cut too deep and must stop working against the remaining employees.
Ballard conducted the study before House Speaker Andy Dillon unveiled his plan to create a statewide health insurance pool:
"I would again say that the Speaker - to urge him to read my study and to pay attention to the very substantial givebacks that have already occurred," he said.
Many state employee groups are concerned their premiums would continue to increase under Dillon's plan. Dillon says he applauds their sacrifice, but long-term government reforms must be made.