I ran some more exact numbers and can give a good comparison on a "private" job (at a Fortune 500 company) vs a "public" one now. I also have a couple of other things to point out.
First, Jeff, is your insurance a family plan and does that include dental and vision?
I can't argue that we aren't potentially getting a good deal on insurance, but it also depends which health plan we choose. There are three tiers. However, the highest tier now costs $226 (single) or $567 (family) per month and that's just health (and includes basic vision). I'm on the cheapest plan and single so my cost is only $84 per month which I do consider a good deal. I also pay $16.70 for dental & excess medical insurance. For comparison, for all health related insurance I currently pay $52.70/mo. My new cost will be $100.70/mo. My "private" job cost $49.86/mo when I left and I had one of the best plans they offered (no referrals needed, etc.). I expect that's increase some in 3.5 years so if it doubled those costs may be fairly even although my old coverage was better.
Now lets talk about life insurance and continuation of pay insurance. At my "private" employer I automatically received a life insurance policy that equaled one year of salary. I also carried optional life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment, each with a total of a 5x my salary at a cost of $8.53/mo. At the UW, I'm required to carry basic life and have to pay for it, $4.80/mo for 1x salary. I also carry additional insurance to boost that to 5x, $11.52/mo. My "private" employer automatically provided long-term disability insurance that continued my pay if I couldn't work (I believe it kicked in after 30 days). I have to pay for that at the UW and chose the 90 day option, $4.98/mo. Total, I'm paying $12.77/mo more for less coverage.
A small simple one, at my "private" job parking was free. At the UW I pay $62 per month for a parking permit (it's actually more per month but only billed for 9 months). This is a mid-grade permit. There are closer lots that cost more, and further away ones that cost less.
All in all, my new costs per month for all insurance, retirement, parking, etc. at the UW will be $413.44/mo compared to my "private" job's $289.15/mo. Yes, the retirement package is better, but the benefits I have are worse. I also based my new costs on my plan to cancel the $100/mo I was previously contributing to a 403b plan.
OK, lets look at some bigger numbers. I just checked the cost of living calculator for current numbers and it estimates that someone with the salary I had when I left Appleton should make $5,623 more per year to cover the added expense of living in Madison and maintain the same lifestyle. However, my salary is $2,529.96 lower per year (total equivalent pay decrease to accept a public job $8,152.96). I also have taken furlough days for the last two years $1,455.04/year for a total loss of $9,608/year for my cushy government job. My benefits made up $1,742.88 of that for an actual loss of $7,865.12. Now let's look at the new number, no furlough days but new benefits costs added in and we get a total loss of $9,644.44 for the pleasure of working for you, John Q. Public. All of that doesn't even take into account that my previous employer wasn't exactly known for paying well.
Sorry if I'm not exactly thrilled to be taking on a new permanent $3,000+ pay cut. I may, or may not be a typical state employee but I suggest people don't look at someone else's job and just assume they understand all of the bits and pieces. Until you're in the environment I'm in, you're not going to understand what tenure accomplishes (for those that can get it). You're not going to see the other costs, the hours, etc. Just like I'm not going to be able to look at the balance sheet for the company you work for and understand your job, your benefits, expenses, etc.