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Arlington Treasurer Wants Another Perk for County Employees

At last week’s monthly meeting of the Arlington County Civic Federation, Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary “rolled out” his proposal for “home loans with below-market interest rates,” according to the online Arlington Sun-Gazette. The program:

“would use a portion of the funds currently invested by the county government, lending them out to financial institutions, which in turn would provide low-cost home loans to police officers, firefighters, teachers and others in the county workforce.”

In a comment posted to the article, Wayne Kubicki, Arlington’s preeminent fiscal watchdog, raises the issue of risk and whether taxpayers really want local government in the mortgage business.

Taxpayers should also know that most state and local government employees are already well-compensated. According to Budget & Tax News, published by the Heartland Institute, state and local government employees earn almost $1,000 more than do their private-sector counterparts, However, when total compensation is considered, which includes fringe benefits, the difference increases to over $6,000, meaning that state and local government employees earn 11% more than do their private-sector counterparts.

The Heartland Institute article, which is based on U.S. Department of Commerce data, notes that average teacher pay is yet even higher. They note:

teacher compensation has closely tracked the overall state and local government pay average since 1990. The average compensation in state and local education in 2006 was $62,371.

State and local workers are not paid as well as federal workers, on average, but they usually receive similarly generous fringe benefits, including high job security and lucrative pension and health care plans. The BEA data do not capture the value of non-dollar benefits.”

Just how princely do we want our county employees?

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