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Get Rich in New York (by Working for New York)

by on March 15, 2010

New York State has too many overpaid government workers.  Also, New York State has too many government workers.  Those are the pair of conclusions to take away from a disheartening study by a conservative group called the Empire Center for New York State Policy.

To summarize the Channel 2 story about the results at Twitter length, we’re getting ripped off to subsidize far too many people toiling for our alleged benefit.  If nothing else, the think tank is admirable for the sheer amount of calculating they had to perform:

The center reviewed payroll records of 298,247 New Yorkers that were employed in any state government branch in 2009.

Amusingly, the top executive is relatively low on the list:

Nine hundred state employees made more than Gov. David Paterson’s $179,000 salary in 2009.

Considering the job he’s done, one question emerges: how did he get as high as 901st?  If asked for input to determine Paterson’s salary, most residents would deem it reasonable to slide the decimal point one place leftward regardless of whether it leaves him earning a “livable wage.”  Regardless, the sleazily bumbling governor stands as just one of countless New York State workers being grossly overpaid:

Gannett’s Albany Bureau reported in February that the number of six-figure salaries on the public rolls in 2009 grew to 23,685 workers, up 16 percent from 2008.  It was the largest total in state history and four times as high as it was in 2000, when 5,800 state workers made $100,000 or more.

But don’t worry, as your money is being spent so the state can make your life better.  You should kindly shut up about it being against your will, please:

SUNY defended the high salaries.

“The investment the state makes is returned many times over as State University of New York physicians and researchers attract millions of dollars to the communities they serve each and every year,” said SUNY spokesman David Henahan.

Yeah, that sounds just like the stimulus.  On a related note, everyone’s broke, especially the one out of about every 10 people who continue to remain unemployed despite whatever economic scheming is being perpetrated in Washington on any random day.  And no private companies would ever hire doctors or scientists, either.  Take our money to pay them handsomely: that’s what our benevolently wise government is for, apparently.

It’s also interesting to consider who else besides “physicians and researchers” lives large on our dime.  For example, the Empire Center’s own searchable database shows that SUNY employee Henahan enjoys a pay rate of $108,002 per year to tell us SUNY employees should make a lot.  It’s no wonder he’s so condescending: he’s got a personal stake.

He’s certainly not alone.  It’s not just the ludicrously huge salaries themselves but the quantity of people receiving them that’s maddeningly problematic.  The vast number of governmental employees on all levels in the Empire State is both shocking and unsurprising:

The Empire Center posted last year’s base pay and total pay of all state employees on its Web site,, along with over one million county and city employees.

Why does nothing ever get done in this state?  Oh, right: the total number of workers at various governmental levels hindering progress tops seven figures.  That’s among a population of approximately 19 and a half million. It takes more than five percent of the state’s residents to run this mess?

Of course, same mess exists precisely because of the presently bloated situation: leaders deflate our finances in order to pay the extravagant salaries of countless state minions.  There may be a correlation between the cost of government and the scant amount of private capital available.  There may also be a correlation between drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel’s in one sitting and feeling tipsy.

The only path to improving this state’s economic standing is to reduce the overwhelming percentage of resources dedicated to administering this unholy mess.  The private sector won’t thrive until New York casts off both employees and salaries.  If we’re getting lousy service, we may as well not get overcharged for the alleged privilege.

Such a process resembles getting faster by shedding weight.  At present, the state lugs around countless spare tires which keep those on the road from spinning at full speed.  The goal must be to hand over less money to fewer meddlers.  While an alternate strategy, namely putting everyone on the state payroll with a six-figure income, sounds appealing, there must be a hidden catch.

  1. Nine-hundred state employees made more than the governor. I’ll have to come back and link to this post.

    In the meantime, I’m trying to get the word out about Louise Slaughter’s Congressional Slight-of-Hand. Please visit my post. I hope you will help spread the word.

    What she is doing in the name of the good people of NY-26 is a crime.


  2. … a violation of her oath of office, it is a crime.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. NY. 298,247 State Workers and Counting. 23,685 State Workers Make Over $100,000 « BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON FRAUD

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