A private audit of state workers pay found that "Colorado state employees make an average of 6 percent more than workers who do the same jobs in the private sector or for other governments."
Union reps scoffed, claiming that state workers may get paid more, but either have lesser benefits (such as medical insurance and pensions) or have to pay more for them than the private sector. I'd like to see the evidence for that. In my experience public sector workers usually have better and cheaper benefits than similar workers in private jobs.
And don't forget, while budget cuts are putting some state employees out of work, it is no where near the levels of job losses in the private sector. Government jobs remain much more secure jobs.
Given the usually higher benefits and job security, there is no reason for government worker salaries to be higher than those in the private sector.