Government in Wisconsin isn’t as large as in many other states. Todd Berry with the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says there’s nothing particularly new about the finding: Wisconsin had 8.2 percent fewer state and local government employees per capita than the national average in 2008. “Wisconsin has, for a long time, had fewer government workers relative to other states in the national average, and this shows that that continues to be the case,” said Barry.

“On the other hand, and this has also long been the case, we tend especially at the state level as opposed to the local level, to have salary and benefit levels that are somewhat above average,” Barry said. The average salary for a Wisconsin state employee was $53,700, a little over four percent higher than the national average. In keeping with the state’s tradition of providing most services locally, over three-quarters of Wisconsin’s more than 283,000 public employees worked in local government.

How does this play out politically? “It certainly does suggest, given that we have fewer employees but in some cases tend to pay them more . . . I think it points to the complexity of any debate over side and scope of government,” said Barry.

Bob Hague interview (6:45 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague interview (6:45 MP3)

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