News Story

Taxpayer Costs For Average State Employee Increased From $79K in 2001 to $95K in 2011

Dems claims state employees 'gave back' $500 million in concessions — facts say otherwise

The Michigan Democrats’ plan to pay college tuition for Michigan students claims that “governmental belt-tightening has come only via state employees, who have given back over $500 million in concessions.”

But James Hohman, fiscal policy analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, questions where the concessions show up in the state workers’ compensation data.

In 2001, the state paid $3.9 billion to 62,057 full-time employees, an average of $63,474 in total compensation for each employee. In 2011, the state paid $4.7 billion to 47,818 full-time employees, meaning total compensation per worker jumped to $97,883. The Mackinac Center received the compensation data in a Freedom of Information Act request from the state’s Civil Service Commission.

When adjusted for inflation, the state spent $4.8 billion in 2001 on employee compensation and $4.5 billion in 2011 despite having 23 percent fewer workers. Average compensation increased from $78,999 in 2001 to $94,888 in 2011 when adjusted for inflation.

At the same time, base salary per state worker has increased from $45,108 in 2001 to $60,034 in 2011. Those numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation.

“State employee compensation has increased substantially due to the rising costs of insurance and the pension funds,” Hohman said. “Whatever they have given up has only slowed the rapid increase of employment costs.”

Robert McCann, communications director for the Michigan Senate Democrats, didn’t return an email seeking comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.