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Meanwhile, in Missouri

Monday, Mar 30, 2015

* Post-Dispatch

When more people quit their jobs, economists view that as a good thing. It’s a sign of an improving job market when people can put in their two weeks to move on to a better gig.

That in turn puts pressure on employers to raise wages to hold on to workers. But what happens when you’re a huge employer with a tight budget and you don’t want to raise pay?

Welcome to Missouri government, where some of the lowest-paid state employees in the nation are leaving their jobs at the highest rate since 2005, a year when hundreds of state workers lost or quit their jobs amid a budget shortfall. […]

Voluntary turnover, which excludes terminations and retirements, reached 11.1 percent, the highest it’s been for at least a decade. […]

The turnover rate for the more than 1,400 children’s service worker positions last year was 28 percent. For entry level service workers, who are typically paid about $15 an hour, voluntary turnover was 36 percent.

Missouri has consistently been at or near the bottom of public worker wages, while Illinois is ranked in the top ten. Missouri public employees received a 1 percent pay hike this year.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - nona - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:43 pm:

    High turnover means higher costs to recruit and train new workers. That’s a reason workers who need the most training, such as those in public safety, get good benefits. It makes financial sense to retain them instead of constantly training a whole new batch every year.


  2. - Vote Quimby! - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 12:50 pm:

    State workers in Missouri are nearly as denigrated as they are in Illinois….but without the higher pay. Here, they get fed up and leave while in Illinois they stay and migrate up the pay scale.


  3. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:01 pm:

    Are there any rankings of the quality of services by different units of government? Different states?


  4. - Rapscallion - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:17 pm:

    Considering the unemployment around St Louis, I’m sure they’ll have no problem finding replacements, just as would Illinois if there was an exodus out of public service. In fact, good luck finding and municipal or school job in Illinois unless “somebody sent ya”.

    There currently is an overabundance of certified teachers in Illinois, and no doubt the compensation would be far less if market values drove it. The last number I heard was 75,000 more certified teachers than jobs, and Illinois is still producing far more education graduates than the Illinois school market can bear.

    It’s a tough balancing act. Pay more than the taxpayers are willing to shell out in a union dominated public sector, and you wind up bankrupt like Illinois and many schools districts.

    Pay too little and you can’t keep good people involved. Unfortunately, it seems there’s little middle ground on either side of the extremes in states like Illinois and Missouri.


  5. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    Some people won’t be happy until the Jefferson City model is applied to Springfield. They value social services like they do Wal-Mart service.

    If you deal with the needy, you should be paid about the same as the needy, right Governor?


  6. - Joe M - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:26 pm:

    ==Pay more than the taxpayers are willing to shell out in a union dominated public sector, and you wind up bankrupt like Illinois and many schools districts.==

    Obviously, Illinois taxpayers aren’t willing to shell out very much. Illinois is in the bottom quarter of total state expenditures per capita. Before the four years that Quinn actually made the required pension contributions, Illinois was in the bottom 10% of total state expenditures per capita.

    But that is what a state gets when they have a 3% tax rate for 20 years, then a 5% for 4 years, and now a 3.75% rate. The vast majority of our neighboring states have progressive tax structures with top rates well above 3.75% and even most well above even 5%.


  7. - Soccermom - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    Raps — how many of those certified teachers are currently looking? Because I would guess that number includes my mom and my father-in-law — both retired teachers.


  8. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:30 pm:

    Maybe Governor Rauner could turn his praise to Missouri. After all, the Governor is all about paying people crappy wages.


  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:32 pm:

    Sad very sad


  10. - OneMan - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:32 pm:

    But that is what a state gets when they have a 3% tax rate for 20 years, then a 5% for 4 years, and now a 3.75% rate. The vast majority of our neighboring states have progressive tax structures with top rates well above 3.75% and even most well above even 5%.

    And give me Indiana’s property tax rates…

    Deal!


  11. - Westward - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:32 pm:

    Hey Rich, that’s great, a 1 percent pay raise. If you’re not a union state employee or connected, you get a no percent raise. Just lucky to have a job, I suppose.


  12. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:35 pm:

    ==If you’re not a union state employee or connected, you get a no percent raise.==

    Another victim heard from


  13. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:42 pm:

    This is the type of race to the bottom Rauner wants us to be leaders in.


  14. - anonin' - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    So Scabistan will be East Missouri not West Indiana? Can we claim the Cardinals as a home team?
    Could be attractive


  15. - Mr. B.A. - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 1:50 pm:

    “There currently is an overabundance of certified teachers in Illinois, and no doubt the compensation would be far less if market values drove it. The last number I heard was 75,000 more certified teachers than jobs, and Illinois is still producing far more education graduates than the Illinois school market can bear.”

    This was certainly true around 2008, when schools were still hiring like crazy to accommodate all of the building. When the siphon shut off on building, so did the teacher candidates. There aren’t half as many coming out of state universities as there were ten years ago. Those 75,000 certified teachers have also certainly moved onto other fields and given up on teaching as a career. If the economy ever gets moving again, I predict a teacher shortage sooner than later…


  16. - Andy S. - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:09 pm:

    If it is really true that Illinois is in the top 10 states with respect to public sector wages, then I am really confused why all of the focus in the last 4-5 years has been on reducing pensions (which have strong constitutional protections) vs. reducing wages which, with the likely exception of tenured faculty in universities, have either no or very weak constitutional protections? Based on most studies I have seen, the Tier 1 pension formulas are at best middle of the road with respect to other states (even with the 3% AAI), especially considering that most Illinois employees do not take part in SS. Why expend fruitless energy on altering these if the real problem (or at least one of the real problems - 40+ years of undertaxation being the other) is that wages are too high, and the high wages are indirectly inflating pensions?


  17. - CharlieKratos - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:19 pm:

    Well, Rauner HAS stated that he has no intention of lowering union worker current wages, so he’s probably going to lower union worker current wages.


  18. - Crispy - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:29 pm:

    Westward–statistically, non-union pay would be even worse in a right-to-work state. Here’s a recent article on that:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/03/02/right-to-work-for-less-gov-scott-walker-wants-to-lower-worker-pay-in-wisconsin/

    Unions need to wake up and start addressing this sour grapes attitude head-on. In recent years, it’s become acceptable to want to drag others down to your low level, rather than work to get a better deal for yourself and everyone else. Pathetic and short-sighted; it ends up with everyone being worse off, in every way.


  19. - olddog - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 2:41 pm:

    Denigrating people in public service has long-term effects. One example — enrollment in teacher training programs is down significantly in recent years, both nationwide and in Illinois.

    Better opportunities in other fields is one reason, but another is “a growing sense … that K-12 teachers simply have less control over their professional lives in an increasingly bitter, politicized environment,” according to an education professor who has studied the issue.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2015/03/03/389282733/where-have-all-the-teachers-gone

    http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/education/isu-sees-drop-in-incoming-students-seeking-teaching-degrees/article_dab00150-9f04-11e2-8bd6-001a4bcf887a.html


  20. - Sir Reel - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:00 pm:

    Demoralized, I was a non union State employee who didn’t get a raise for years. I tried to get into the union but got passed around from union to union with no luck. Guess I was in a category of 1.

    I also tried to get a promotion to a higher paying job but I wasn’t connected enough for the few jobs available.

    (I ended up retiring even though I liked my job and wanted to improve Illinois because I could make more in retirement than by working.)

    So not everyone who makes a comment like Westward is a victim.


  21. - G'Kar - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:06 pm:

    I believe another key reason for the rapid decline of students in teacher education programs in Illinois is the realization that Tier II pensions are lousy. Why enter a profession where you have to work ~46 years to qualify for a pension–and a pension that you have paid more into than you will get out!


  22. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    Sir Reel

    Same boat here. But if I complained about it or thought about it I’d drive myself nuts. So I don’t. I keep calm and carry on.


  23. - Norseman - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 3:32 pm:

    === Same boat here. But if I complained about it or thought about it I’d drive myself nuts. So I don’t. I keep calm and carry on. ===

    Some could use your same therapist.


  24. - nixit71 - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 4:13 pm:

    ==The vast majority of our neighboring states have progressive tax structures with top rates well above 3.75% and even most well above even 5%.==

    Our neighboring states also tax most retirement income. *crickets chirp*


  25. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 5:14 pm:

    Our neighboring states also tax most retirement income. *crickets chirp*

    I suspect that will be on the table, about as soon as…a certain ISC decision comes down.


  26. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 5:23 pm:

    The number of teachers needed is based on the number of students who need an education. The number of students seems to be a secret number.

    If the population of Illinois is shrinking or rising at a rate below replacement, the number of teachers and school buildings is declining naturally. Without getting in to the weeds about whether wages of benefits are driving reductions in the teaching workforce let’s look in to how many students there are in the system.


  27. - ArchPundit - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 7:02 pm:

    One of my favorite bits I did at a job I hated:
    http://pprc.umsl.edu/pprc.umsl.edu/data/pbrief_016_handlin.pdf

    I don’t believe they have raised rates since, but frankly, I don’t care anymore. Misery is behind me.


  28. - olddog - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 7:11 pm:

    === The number of teachers needed is based on the number of students who need an education. The number of students seems to be a secret number. ===

    Illinois is home to 4,336 schools and 2,083,097 K-12 students. http://ballotpedia.org/Illinois_school_districts

    Not a very well kept secret.


  29. - ArchPundit - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 7:27 pm:

    ====Not a very well kept secret.

    And every school and district number can be found at the State Board of Ed web site.


  30. - Guzzlepot - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 7:52 pm:

    @Plutocrat. Illinois population is actually growing, just not as fast as other states.


  31. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 30, 15 @ 10:46 pm:

    @Plutocrat, if IL is slightly gaining population but the replacement ratio is deficient, that can only mean more internal and/or international migration is making up the difference. Some of that group is children and young adults who must be educated.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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