CHICAGO (CBS) — A new report says state government employees in Illinois are pretty much the highest paid such workers in the nation.

The study for the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank, found the average salary for state workers here, when adjusted for cost of living, is just over $59,000 – about $10,000 more than the national average.

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IPI vice president Ted Dabrowski wasn’t directly saying Illinois state workers – who are unionized – are overpaid, but he compared their wages to those in the private sector.

“While the public sector is seeing bigger and bigger increases in their salaries, the private sector people that pay for them are seeing their wages stagnate, and they’re seeing jobs harder and harder to come by,” he said.

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Dabrowski said Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and union leaders have said they are fighting for the middle class, but he argued they’re really only fighting for a small group of workers.

“What it means is that at some point, Madigan’s got to decide that he’s got to control the growth in those expenses to protect the private sector working class, middle class, from ever-raising taxes and an economy that seems to be going the wrong way,” he said.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner has been negotiating new contracts with state workers represented by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which represents some 35,000 workers. The union has been demanding raises, and resisting Rauner’s attempts to limit collective bargaining rights.