Entries in State (2)


Double Standard? Romney, Perry Grew State Payrolls as Governors

Steve Cole/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- have cast themselves as foot soldiers in the war against government workers.

Romney has criticized President Obama for presiding over an “unparalleled” expansion of the federal workforce that he would see rolled back, while Perry has insisted altogether that it’s not the place of government to create jobs.

Yet both men presided over substantial additions to state government payrolls at taxpayer expense during their gubernatorial tenures, a review of historical employment data found.

When Romney took office in January 2003, the Massachusetts state government employed 112,000 workers, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Four years later, the ranks of Massachusetts state employees had grown by 3,000, a 2.6 percent increase.  (Over the same period, nonfarm employment grew just 1.2 percent.)

During Perry’s decade-long tenure in Texas, the state workforce has also blossomed, climbing from 328,800 in December 2000 to more than 377,600 in July 2011, a net gain of 48,800 state government jobs, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

The more than 14 percent expansion of Texas state government employment under Perry far outpaces the private sector job growth of 9.7 percent in the state over the same period.

As for Obama, the ranks of the federal government have swelled during his administration, though not by significantly more than they did under his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Between January 2009, when Obama took office, and August 2011, the federal government has added a net 137,000 jobs,  a 6.6 percent expansion of the workforce.  During Bush’s second term, the ranks grew by 114,000 jobs, or 5.8 percent.

More than 2.2 million Americans worked for the federal government as of August 2011, excluding postal workers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cost Cutting? Or War on Government Workers?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When House Speaker John Boehner uttered "so be it" if federal government jobs are lost, Democrats pounced on his words. But the Ohio Republican's not-so-carefully crafted words are a sign of a bigger battle over government jobs being fought across the country.

As lawmakers figure out ways to trim the budget deficit, both federal and state worker jobs are coming under renewed scrutiny.

The House Republicans' continuing resolution that would fund the government for the remainder of the year, if it passes, calls for hefty cuts in federal agency budgets and would directly affect salaries and jobs.

Even President Obama's budget, released Monday, includes a two-year freeze on federal employee salaries, although they would still be eligible for pay raises under promotions. State workers across the United States are in a similar -- if not worse -- conundrum.

In a case that has perhaps triggered the most uproar, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is trying to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Some observers say it is a deliberate attempt to undermine unions.

Walker says though they may seem politically bold, the cuts he's proposing are modest and needed. Walker insisted that he offered to negotiate with unions but they didn't bite.

Elsewhere, California Gov. Jerry Brown has enacted a state hiring freeze.

A USA Today analysis in August found that federal workers' average salaries have grown to more than double their private-sector counterparts, and that they've been awarded better pay and benefit increases for nine consecutive years.

Some experts say those numbers should be taken with caution because federal government workers are likely to be more skilled and higher-educated than their private-sector counterparts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio