Local Government Employment in 2002: Census Bureau Data


It is attached.  To understand it, read the prior post with 2005 data.

Note that this much larger file provides local government data for every county in New York State.

That data isn’t exactly comparable with to regional totals.  How do you allocate the LIRR, which counts as "state data" but has been allocated to Downstate New York local government to make it comparable with NYC and the U.S., between Nassau and Suffolk for example.  But it is pretty close.  So you can adjust the formulas in the output tables for data for any set of counties you choose.

Where the (Excess and Below Average) Government Jobs and Pay Are


Isn’t technology wonderful?  I’ve just finished compiling 2005 local government employment and payroll data from the U.S. Census Bureau, along with some relevant private-sector data, for New York City, the Rest of New York State, the U.S. average, and (well almost done) New Jersey.  And, I’m told by the management that I can actually attach the spreadsheet to this post, available for you to download.  I will attempt to do so, but if that doesn’t work you can still get it by e-mailing me at vampire-state (at) att.net.  I’ll be writing about the implications of the numbers (which are very much like those in 2002, 2000, 1997, etc. etc.) in the coming weeks, but for now I’ll just provide them and explain how they are calculated.

The McCall (and Pataki?) Gift to Cronies


As I was standing amidst the overflowing garbage on the boardwalk on Coney Island on July 4th, which the oft-downsized Parks Department can apparently no longer afford to pick up (the trash bins in Prospect Park were not emptied on Monday July 3rd either), and watching the police recruits, who will be replaced by those with so little ability that they cannot get a job for more than $25,000 per year, I wished more people were aware of the importance of the 2000 pension deal, which in an instant transferred $billions to retired and about to retire public employees from our then-future, now present.  As long as the benefits for the insiders, and cost to the rest, are separated by a few years in time, most people do not notice the connection.  They are vaguely dissatisfied, but they don’t understand why.  The ongoing losses to our quality of life are “inevitable.”  Now, it seems, more “inevitable” losses may be coming.

Garden of Fiscal Evil


Now that the slot machines are shut down, the majority of people who don’t read the newspapers may have noticed that New Jersey, the richest state in the country, a state that therefore has a low social service burden and a large tax base, is nonetheless bankrupt.  Some may be wondering how this could have happened.  The answer is that the State of New Jersey has pursued many of the future-destroying policies of the State of New York, but to a greater extent and with a lower tax rate.

The City and State of New York reduced their contributions to their employee pension funds, allowed employees with 10 or more year’s seniority to stop contributing themselves, and drastically increased benefits by adding an inflation adjustment that was retroactive for those already retired.  As a result, required pension contributions have soared, leading to year after year of service reductions and higher taxes.  Moreover, some of the additional contributions New York City will be forced to make have been deferred, leading to even greater contributions in the future.  We’ll start paying for some of the 2000 pension deal in 2010.

The Winners: Where New York’s Money Goes


If you read my prior posts, you know that in Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 New York City residents paid an estimated $149.19 for every $1,000 of their personal income in state and local taxes, either directly or through the businesses they work in or patronize, and that the residents of the rest of New York State (the part outside New York City) paid $128.03.  This compares with a national average of $104.09.  And, you know that nearly the entire difference was accounted for by higher local taxes, since New York’s state taxes, at $62.12 per $1,000 of personal income, were just slightly higher than the national average of $60.83 per $1,000 (and New York State income tax payments by residents of Connecticut and New Jersey in part offsets that difference).  This is an overview of where that additional money goes.

Socialized Medicine? Get Real, It’s Already Here


On another topic, Rock Hackshaw asked my opinion of government-funded healthcare, ie. "socialized medicine."  I responded by sending him an essay on health care finance I wrote a few years back during the recession, and he said I should post it here.  It’s long, but he seems to think it’s worth the read.

A spreadsheet backing up my assertions, produced some years ago, is attached.  The government share of health care spending is surely higher today.  Note also that when I make the case that, directly or indirectly, the federal state and local governments are already paying for most healthcare in any event, I included the share of private insurance that is purchased on behalf of public employees, but not the share purchased on behalf of public employee retirees, which I have no way to measure.  Add another few percent to the share of healthcare already funded by tax dollars, even as many are uninsured and get nothing despite paying taxes.

How 9/11 Changed the NYC Local Government Budget


I have finished compiling the census bureau’s state and local finance data for Fiscal 2004, and you can have the spreadsheet if you e-mail me at vampire-state (at) att (dot) net, putting state and local finance in the subject so I know the e-mail is not spam.  Since the Bureau also compiled data for Fiscal 2002, the last budget before 9/11, we can see how that event affected the city’s finances, and thus how that affected us all.  The answer is the city became worse off, in part because when all the dollars are counted, Albany and Washington reacted to the tragedy by directing more money away from New York City.  And the many ways in which New York City and state differ from the national average became more pronounced.

Bad Morning Caused By Albany


Today was supposed to be a good day.  It’s the kids’ last day of school, a half day, and I took the day off to enjoy it with them.  But I just looked at the New York Times online, and saw a nightmare.

By accident, as a result of the failure of the "big three" to agree how to divide the spoils, this budget was going to be the least bad of the Pataki Administration.  There was no additional state aid to allow over-funded school districts in the rest of the state to spend even more, and pass the check to the city’s children and taxpayers.  There was a reduction in the spending increase for New York City’s greedy, Medicaid-financed health care providers.  There was even a few capital nickels for New York City’s ripped off children.  But according to the Times it won’t happen that way.

Why, and To Whom, Cutting NYC Terror Funds Makes Sense


There is a chorus of incomprehension about the decision by the federal Department of Homeland Security to reduce security funding for New York City by 40 percent, and redistribute the savings to other less populated areas.  Some people cannot understand how it can make sense to take money away from a city that has been attacked several times and is the subject of ongoing threats and plots.  That is because such people believe that the purpose of homeland security funding is to ensure homeland security.

In reality, for elected officials the provision of public services and benefits is incidental to the actual purpose of the expenditure of public funds, if not an impediment to it.  The purpose of public spending is to reward narrow groups of political supporters with more money in exchange for less effort than any of those paying would have agreed to voluntarily.  Taxes are not voluntary.

Faso and Spitzer Agree: NYC’s Share of State Education Funding Should Be Cut


If you have been reading this blog, then you know that education spending in the rest of the state is off the charts, that school districts there have been hiring tens of thousands of new employees even as enrollment falls.  Meanwhile, the City of New York continues to have a level of staffing, and (if the cost of living is adjusted for) spending and pay that is lower than the national average, and far lower than the rest of the state.  (Send me an e-mail at vampire-state@att.net if you require proof of these assertions, and I’ll send you a report).  Because school districts in the rest of the state hire and spend so much, the STAR program — which diverts education money away from New York City — was developed to pay for it.  And now that spending, and property taxes, outside the city have increased even more, both Faso and Spitzer want to expand STAR once again.