After reading the Illinois Policy Institute's new report on pay and benefits for government workers in Illinois, you may (because I was) be thinking, "I've made a vocational error."

Here in Illinois, as it has been pointed out ad nauseam, we generally fare poorly on the lists of good things, and we rank too highly on the bad lists. You decide for yourself how to look at this one.

According to IPI's new report, government workers in Illinois are the highest paid government workers in the nation, when wages are indexed for cost of living. Government workers in Illinois have an average salary of $59,088, which is about $10,000 more than national annual average for state workers. That's in addition to to other benefits like health insurance and pensions. And, despite private sector wages remaining nearly flat, salaries for state workers in Illinois have increased by 41 percent since 2005, according to state and federal data.

Some of the other findings in the Illinois Policy Institute's report:

  • State government workers in Illinois are the highest paid in the country after adjusting for cost-of-living differences between the states. Average salary for a state government worker in Illinois: $59,088.
  • AFSCME worker salaries grew 3x faster than private-sector workers’ earnings over the past decade.
  • Median AFSCME worker salaries increased more than 40 percent from 2005 to 2014. During that same period, median private-sector earnings in Illinois remained virtually flat.
  • Taxpayers pay 77 percent of AFSCME workers' platinum-level health insurance plans, or $14,880 per worker. State workers pay bronze-level premiums for platinum-level health insurance benefits.
  • State government workers in Illinois are eligible for free retiree health insurance after working for the state for 20 years. This benefit has a cash value of $200,000 to $500,000 for each retiree, all paid for by taxpayers. Free retiree health care is virtually unheard of in the private sector.
  • More than half of state workers retire in their 50s, and career workers receive an average pension of $1.6 million. This is in addition to Social Security.

Or, speaking of money, watch boxer Floyd Mayweather cleaning up:

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