Nearly 8,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees—including more than 4,800 in the past year—have been added to New York’s state government payroll since the fall of 2006, according to data from the state comptroller’s office.

As of the first pay period in October, the state payroll totaled 239,830 FTE employees.That is the highest total for any comparable period since 1991, the first year of Mario Cuomo’s third term as governor. Under former Governor George Pataki, the third-quarter payroll reached 231,853 FTEs in October 2006.

Based on weighted average biweekly salaries, the two-year increase of 7,979 FTE state employees represents $700 million a year in added compensation costs, including benefits and payroll taxes.Total salary, benefits and payroll taxes for state workers have increased $2.2 billion, or 12 percent, in the last two years.*

Much of the increase resulted from expanded programs included in the first budget proposed by former Governor Eliot Spitzer, who took office in January 2007.Governor David Paterson, who succeeded Spitzer in mid-March of this year, announced hiring freezes in April and again in July.

Including overtime and regional differentials, the average state worker’s salary is $59,717, up 8 percent since 2006. The total cost per employee, including benefits and payroll taxes, now comes to $86,858.

Over half of the state payroll increase in the past two years has been concentrated in higher education, where the number of FTEs has grown by 5 percent in the State University and 11 percent in the City University.

* Total compensation costs were calculated using the Division of the Budget estimate that benefits and payroll taxes average 45.6 percent of salaries across all job titles.

About the Author

Tim Hoefer

Tim Hoefer is president & CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Read more by Tim Hoefer

You may also like

Benchmarking New York

New York State residents pay some of the highest local taxes in the nation. To help New Yorkers compare some of the basic fiscal measures for local governments, the Empire Center for Public Policy continues to calculate effective property tax rates and per-capita values for the spending, debt and tax levels of counties, cities, towns, villages and school districts throughout the state, excluding only New York City. Read More

Tax cap offers strongest shield to NY’s poorest school districts

Over the past seven years, New York’s cap on local property tax levies has generated billions of dollars in savings for homeowners and businesses, compared to previous trends. The cap has been especially effective in restraining school property taxes, which have long been the largest and fastest-growing component of New York’s tax burden. Read More

Benchmarking New York

Compare the taxes, spending and debt of local governments across New York State. Read More

What They Make, 2014-15

Local government is a labor-intensive business, and employee compensation is the single biggest element of most municipal budgets. The 2014-15 edition of What They Make, the Empire Center’s annual report on public payrolls, allows New York taxpayers to compare this key element of local government costs around the state. Read More

Benchmarking New York

New York State residents pay some of the highest local taxes in the nation. Until now, however, New Yorkers have had no easy way to compare basic fiscal measures for the local governments that account for a large share of the taxes they pay. Read More

“Millionaire” income tax bracket growing more slowly in New York

The Empire State recently has fallen behind the national average when it comes to adding new income millionaires. Read More

What They Make, 2013-14

Local government is a labor-intensive business, and employee compensation is the single biggest element of most municipal budgets. The 2013-14 edition of What They Make, the Empire Center's annual report on public payrolls, allows New York taxpayers to compare this key element of local government costs around the state... Read More

New York’s “Death Tax:” The Case for Killing It

New York is one of only 14 states that still impose an estate tax. The new state budget moves a big step towards repeal—but more needs to be done to avoid chasing away wealth. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.