Thursday, December 2, 2010

How Many Non-Gov't Workers Does It Take to Pay One State Worker?

That is one terrific question.

Wouldn't you like to know the answer to that question in your state?

In New Jersey, inquiring (Republican) minds in the state assembly wanted to know just how many private sector workers it takes to keep one New Jersey state worker on the payroll (via Chris Wysocki at Wyblog).

The answer produced by New Jersey's nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services is somewhere between 67.5 and 90 non-gov't workers.

The short story: to pay the salary and benefits of New Jersey's close to 60 thousand state workers requires contributions from somewhere between 4 and 5.4 million private-sector workers. However, New Jersey only has 3.2 million private-sector workers.

That makes New Jersey short somewhere between 800,000 and 2.2 million non-gov't workers.


Clearly, something's got to give.

One word of advice to New Jersey. Don't go looking at New York State for a bailout. That would be like Ireland asking Greece for a bailout.

New Jersey, at the very least, knows how many employees it has on its payroll: 58,518.

New York doesn't even know: it has to "estimate" how many people are employees of the state. That estimate: about 294 thousand state workers, with a little over 7 million private-sector workers to pay their freight.

Going by New Jersey's calculation that each state worker needs about 90 non-gov't workers to pay his or her salary, New York's non-gov't workers can afford to pay for 78 thousand state workers.

However, New York currently is paying for 294 thousand state workers.

Hey, New York State is only short 19.5 million non-gov't workers to meet our payroll!

Let's see, that's almost equal to the entire population of New York City (8.4 million), plus the populations of Long Island and Northern New Jersey, or the equivalent of 1 out of every 16 Americans.

Maybe New Jersey could get a loan from California, Connecticut, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia?

No. Those are among the 41 states, including New Jersey and New York, that are on the verge of bankruptcy.

I wonder how Texas or Alaska would feel about paying for New Jersey's gov't workers?


  1. Wow, this certainly puts it all in perspective: "That would be like Ireland asking Greece for a bailout."

  2. You know what's really scary? Those calculations don't factor in public-sector retiree pensions and benefits, which are grossly underfunded.

    That's the next number I hope they publish - how many non-govt workers does it take to pay for one public-sector retiree. I'm guessing it's more than 90.

  3. It is unconscionable that it takes between "67.5 and 90 non-gov't workers" to pay for one government worker. The price of government workers is way too expensive. Gee... libs are always calling for fairness. What they really want is to be given extra special privileges on a silver platter while not having to pay one red cent.