What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


ALBANY—New York’s state and local government employees collect higher retirement benefits while contributing less than state and local government employees in other states, according to a Public Policy Institute analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

State and local government retirees in New York collected an average $22,676 in pension benefits in 2003, some 16 percent above the national average, according to the Institute. The average figure includes retirees who worked part-time or full-time. New York's state and local government retirees received the fifth-highest average benefit in the nation.

The analysis of pension data has been added to the Institute's compendium of key economic and social indicators, Just the Facts. The online report includes 32 other tables comparing cost of major business expenses, along with other indicators, in New York and the other 49 states.

The new analysis found that contributions by New York government employees made up 8 percent of their pension funds' total revenues in 2003, with most other revenues coming from taxpayers. The nationwide average for government workers' contributions as a proportion of overall pension fund revenues was 20 percent. Government employees in Kansas contributed about 56 percent of that state’s total pension revenues.

The New York State figures include data for 15 separate pension funds. Those include the Common Retirement Fund, covering most state and municipal employees in New York; and the Teachers Retirement System, which covers most public-school teachers and some other public employees.

Some 685,000 retired New York state and local government workers collected public pensions in 2003. That figure represented 10.6 percent of the nationwide total of state and local government pension recipients; New York's population that year was 6.6 percent of the U.S. population.

An October 2004 PPI analysis of Census Bureau data found that 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.

That 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.

The state and local pension table can be found at www.ppinys.org/reports/jtf2004/stlocalpension.htm. All 32 tables in the Just the Facts report are available at www.ppinys.org/reports/jtf.htm.