In a recent article, columnist Jack Lessenberry questioned the accuracy of the amount of money a Mackinac Center for Public Policy study found the state could save if state worker benefits were in line with the private sector.

James Hohman, fiscal policy analyst with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, wrote a report in 2009 wherein he calculated that bringing public benefits of fulltime state and local government employees in line with the private sector would save the state $5.7 billion.

Lessenberry, a lecturer at Wayne State University where he teaches History and Law of Journalism, wrote: “His dollar figure is considerably higher than other studies.” After Lessenberry’s column was published, Hohman questioned what studies refuted his dollar amount. Hohman said he knew of no other study that listed a dollar amount.

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“He thinks the overcompensation of public employees is a myth,” Hohman said about Lessenberry. “In this case, his observations are simply inaccurate.”

In e-mails to the Mackinac Center, Lessenberry did not cite any studies. Instead, Lessenberry wrote that he should have written “I did not know any other economists who believe that anything like those savings are realistic.”

Hohman said that although some have criticized the findings, no one that he is aware of has produced an alternate study that shows his numbers are not valid. Hohman has since written an analysis that walks readers through how he came up with his figures:


See also:

What Can $5.7 Billion Get You in Michigan?

Michigan Teacher Pay 16.5 Percent Higher Than Indiana

State Pension Funds: Evidence of Public Class’s Overcompensation

School Pensions Sucking Up Per Pupil Cash

Michigan Public Employee Pay and Benefits Growing

Michigan Public Employees Compensation Growing Despite Concessions Claims

Reality Check: Did State Workers Already Give at the Office?

Government Unions: The Real Wealth in American Politics

The School Employee Concession Myth

Michigan Falls to Bottom 10 in Key Economic Measure

Schools Buying Bigger Pension Payouts for Employees


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Ted Nelson is a retired Michigan State Police officer who trained police departments throughout the state on civil asset forfeiture. He believes the practice has been misused and needs to change.

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