June 28, 2007

Your Growing State Government (Or, Fun with Numbers)

Marc Comtois

Well, with the budget passed, let's look at the damage. First, here's how much we held the line, broken out by major department (all % are rounded):

2007 to 2008 Expenditure Growth
General Government$1,409,253,153$1,421,934,563$12,681,4101%
Human Services$2,567,110,918$2,715,812,422$148,701,5046%
Education$1,848,828,527 $1,909,134,809$60,306,2823%
Public Safety$401,107,978$428,636,150$27,528,1727%
Natural Resources$99,809,385$92,311,600-$7,497,785-8%

That's an increase of 4% over last year. Still higher than inflation, but under 5% growth: a minor miracle in Rhode Island, right? Overall, the Human Services component contains the largest growth in actual dollars while Transportation has the highest growth as a percentage. Meanwhile, we're cutting state payroll...a little:

2007 to 2008 Change In Gov't Employees
General Government2,668.902,638.20-30.70-1%
Human Services42744219.6-54.40-1%
Public Safety3008.83054.645.802%
Natural Resources540.5530.4-10.10-2%

Um, maybe 6 jobs isn't really enough to consider a cut...

OK, enough of the B.S. Let's go back and see what the real deal is regarding the growth of the RI State government. (To foreshadow, it's freakin' unbelievable!)

2001 to 2008 Expenditure Growth
General Government$859,682,533$1,421,934,563$562,252,03065%
Human Services$1,804,551,076$2,715,812,422$911,261,34650%
Public Safety$270,414,341$428,636,150$158,221,80959%
Natural Resources$72,256,449$92,311,600$20,055,15128%

2001 to 2008 Change In Gov't Employees
General Government2,352.502,638.20285.70-1%
Human Services4734.44219.6-514.80-11%
Public Safety3193.63054.6-139.00-4%
Natural Resources621.5530.4-91.10-15%

So, over the last 7 years, we've reduced the State work force by 5% but the overall budget has increased by 49%. Now how did that happen?

Well, here's a list of those areas within each department whose 2008 budget allocation is both more than $5 million a year and has seen a greater than 40% increase over the last 7 years:

2001 to 2008 Change In Expenditures - "Hi-lights"
General Government
Business Regulation$8,417,007$13,135,623$4,718,61656%
Department of Revenue*$0$256,364,161$256,364,161100%
Human Services
Office of Health and Human Services**$0$6,578,965$6,578,965100%
Human Services$1,114,808,639$1,811,144,472$696,335,83362%
Elementary and Secondary$776,752,964$1,096,216,347$319,463,383-41%
Higher Education - Board of Governors$495,406,385$770,836,024$275,429,63956%
RI Council on the Arts$1,949,092$6,484,097$4,535,005233%
Higher Education Assistance Authority$14,002,560$29,350,404$15,347,844110%
Public Safety
Attorney General$15,538,842$23,903,316$8,364,47454%
Military Staff$10,260,851$24,960,095$14,699,244143%
E-911 Emergency Telephone System$3,500,541$6,030,052$2,529,511 72%
State Police$36,371,112$61,643,945$25,272,83369%
Office of Public Defender$5,264,386$9,746,784$4,482,39885%
Sheriffs of Several Counties***$8,767,198$0-$8,767,198-100%

*Didn't exist in 2001, created in 2006.
** Created by Gov. Carcieri in 2004 by Executive Order and given statutory authority in 2007.
***The Sheriffs were merged and consolidated at the State level in 2004 (I think).

Sources: 2001 RI Budget, 2007 RI Budget, House Budget Bill H5300.

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What? You mean we aren't just adding jobs and more jobs! What do you mean? The govnah keeps saying that we are growing jobs like weeds?

Oh, he means the sub contracted jobs.... right.....

Posted by: Pat at June 28, 2007 4:26 PM

Excellent analysis, Marc. This is sort of like what happened to welfare. The number of people on the rolls dropped significantly but dollars spent on the programs actually rose.

Let's see, Pat. We've heard of one typist at $102,000. Possibly, however, she wasn't the only one, so let's assume for argument's sake that the State Police will uncover 100 more such sub-contracted positions.

Turning to the General Assembly side of the public work force, the average state worker, adding in benefits and pension, makes on average $109,000. And at this point, the roster is 16,000.

I'm not great with math. But whether 100 or 16,000, I think we'd be better off staffing state jobs the way the Governor did it, with a sub-contracted work force.

Posted by: SusanD at June 28, 2007 8:39 PM

So, over the last 7 years, we've reduced the State work force by 5% but the overall budget has increased by 49%. Now how did that happen?
It's happened because each FTE costs $109,000 which, though I don't have the exact figures, I would hazard to guess makes RI employess the highest compensated of the 50 states. Who says we can't be number 1! Pat Crowley and other leeches rejoice. We couldn't have done it without you.

Posted by: Mike at June 29, 2007 10:09 AM
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