Christine Murphy: There’s a reason there’s more gov’t workers in Colorado |

Christine Murphy: There’s a reason there’s more gov’t workers in Colorado

Christine Murphy, executive director
Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Denver

Fred Holden of the Independence Institute talks about growth in the number of public employees as if more government workers just appeared on the payroll for no good reason. In fact, there are very good reasons for the rising number of public employees during the past decade. Start with the 728,000 additional Colorado residents since 2000. Does Holden figure our state workers can serve 17 percent more people without adding staff?

Perhaps he expects the 35,000 additional college students and 70,000 additional K-12 students added during the past decade will just educate themselves. Somehow, he expects the growth in Medicaid recipients of 150,000 people can be accommodated without additional resources.

Holden advocates a “simple solution” of not replacing public employees as they retire or otherwise leave the state’s employment. Simple solutions to complex problems have obvious appeal, but wise stewardship of public resources requires a more thoughtful, balanced approach.

Rather than arbitrary reductions to public investments, our state government should adequately fund programs that support a strong economy. Eliminating public workers would not only make our state’s unemployment situation worse but it would do nothing to create new jobs, and it would jeopardize our ability to ensure a better future for the next generation.

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