“Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government,” said President Franklin Roosevelt. “The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
We have some great government employees here in Iowa, but Roosevelt’s words ring true today. In the private sector, if a union demands too much in compensation, they risk bankrupting their workers’ company hurting employees in the process. This, unfortunately, isn’t the case in our state’s government. Today, Iowans are forced to pay higher taxes to fund these unions demands. Unlike private sector unions, whose workers are able to bargain for profits they help to create, state workers don’t generate profits. They just negotiate for more of our tax money through programs like public pensions and collective bargaining.
It’s time our lawmakers restructure state employment to protect the state budget and the taxpayers that provide the revenue. These reforms should aim to create long-term stability for state employees, Iowa citizens and our private sector businesses. They should protect the essential functions of state government while eliminating efforts that are better left to the private economy.
And it’s not all about cost. The disparity between public sector compensation and private sector compensation for comparable work is massive – creating an unfair burden on state taxpayers. Moreover, Iowa’s public pensions are woefully underfunded, leaving future generations to pay for the burden of meeting the state’s obligation to retired public sector workers.