Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — Friday, October 29, 2004


ALBANY—New York’s state and local governments pay public employees more than any state except California, and the number of government workers compared to population is among the highest in the country, according to a Public Policy Institute analysis of new U.S. Census Bureau numbers.

The analysis found that average annual pay for government workers in New York was $51,445 in 2003, the second-highest annual pay in the nation and 26 percent above the national average of $40,717.

New York’s closest competitors ranked below New York, including New Jersey ($50,228), Massachusetts ($45,644), Connecticut ($48,444), Michigan ($42,806), and Pennsylvania ($41,429), the analysis found.

New York had 62 full-time equivalent state and local government workers for every 1,000 residents in 2003, 14 percent above the national average. New York’s closest competitors were again ranked below New York.

Local-government employment in New York is especially out of line with other areas. School districts, municipalities and other local-government entities employed an average of 49 workers per 1,000 residents in 2003. That figure was 23 percent above the national average. State-government employment was 13 per 1,000 residents, while the national average was 14.5 per 1,000 residents.

An August, 2004, Institute report showed that Upstate New York taxpayers paid as much as $6 billion more in state and local taxes than they would in an average state, partly because of the state's far-above-average local government payrolls.

The report, How High is the Upstate Tax Burden and Why?, found that Upstate local governments have some 93,500 more employees than they would have if they merely matched the national average ratio of local government workers to population. “This excess of more than 25 percent alone costs Upstate taxpayers more than $4 billion extra a year,” the report said.

A table of the Institute's analysis of the Census Bureau's numbers.