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The True Cost of State Government

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Daily Zero has this article, Ranks of State Workers Swell, which tells how the Washington State government is about to grow yet again. From the article:
Total employment of state government crept up by the equivalent of 1,672 full-time positions to 108,254 in the budget year that began in July.
This got me thinking about exactly what those numbers translate into on a real bread-and-butter type of level. After a bit of searching on the internet, I came up with some figures to put with this article to flesh it out for us.
But first, keep in mind the fact that the following dollar amount does not account for the estimated 64,000 part-time State Employees. I deliberately left these positions out because there's really no way of telling how to accurately add them into our equation or how much money it takes to pay them. I discovered that the budget doesn't include their salaries, either. Here's what is included in the budgeted amount (from A Citizen’s Guide to the Washington State Budget, January 2006 - page 9 (.pdf)):
The $6.4 billion Salaries and Benefits expenditure in FY 2005 provided compensation to the nearly 107,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff that the state directly employs. In addition to salaries and wages, this amount includes health, life, and disability insurance; Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI is sometimes referred to as "Social Security"); retirement and pensions; and other employee benefits.
First, let's figure out what the average yearly salary is for a State Employee:
$6,400,000,000.00 ÷ 106,639* FTEs = $60,015.56
Next, let's multiply this average yearly salary against our new State Employee number provided by the Daily Zero's article:
$60,015.56 x 108,254 = $6,496,924,432.24
This amount will probably be our new Salaries and Benefits expenditure for FY 2007 after the bump up in the number of State Employees.
Now that we have our adjusted numbers, all we need to do is figure out how many people live in the State of Washington. The answer: The Office of Financial Management estimates that as of April 2006, 6,375,600 people live in Washington State (Source).
And now for the really disturbing numbers:
Would it surprise you to learn that for every 58 Washington State citizens there's a State Employee to look after them (6,375,600 ÷ 108,254).
The cost to each and every Washington State citizen--man, woman, and child--to employ all these State Employee's: $1,019.02 per year ($6,496,924,432.24 ÷ 6,375,600).
Nanny Statism, my friends, is very much alive and well here in Washington State. Which leads me to ask, "How many State Employees do we really need to run this State? One in 58 citizens to look after each of us seems a little disproportionate to me. Are we all really so inept that we need constant minding by the State?"


Blogger Mark said...

Yet the poor state employees are still not satisfied. They need more appreciation of the great job they are doing taking care of us.

If not a single new state job is created, the cost of feeding and caring for the existing job holders will continue to rise. The state will then "need" higher taxes or it will threaten to cut back welfare. It is a never-ending economic death spiral.

1:03 PM  

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