Kudos to ProJo for Their City and Town Report

I crack on them enough, but this time I’m sending kudos the ProJo’s way for their story–and the research made available–on the cost to Rhode Islanders for running our state, city and town governments.

Rhode Islanders paid their city and town employees more than $1.6 billion in 2006, a Providence Journal analysis of municipal employee records shows.
Add that to the nearly $1 billion paid to state employees that same year, and the total government payroll in Rhode Island — without including the cost of benefits — tops $2.6 billion.

In short, 1 in 6 Rhode Islanders are employed by some aspect of state and local government (federal government employees weren’t included). I’m not sure where that ranks RI nationally, but the data compiled by the ProJo (the story is by Paul Edward Parker) on payroll costs and number of employees will be useful in comparing RI towns to each other.
UPDATE: Here’s an example. I’ve been playing around with the numbers and came up with a couple lists by ranking Cities/Towns based on the cost/employee and the cost/resident for the government services outlined in the ProJo piece (Schools, Public Safety, Social Programs, Public Services, Administration, Regulatory, Legislative and ‘Other’). Here’s the Top ten most expensive cities/towns in these two categories (The towns in Yellow are on both lists.):

Cost of Government per Government Employee
c2e-chart.JPG

Cost of Government per Resident
c2r-chart.JPG


In the second list, New Shorham (Block Island) is an outlier, which is self-explanatory. It’s a small island with a small population and basic services require a certain minimum of employees (a ratio of 5 residents per 1 government employee). That Providence and Warwick are on both lists is unsurprising: bigger, more diverse populations usually mean more government (like it or not). But I think if I were Middletown or North Kingstown, I may wonder what was going on. Those of you who reside in some of the communities listed probably have a better idea than I as to the particulars that go into these rankings.

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leprechaun
leprechaun
13 years ago

How come in this study Cumberland has one employee per 27 residents, Lincoln has one per 22 residents and Central Falls has one per 17 residents . Also why is it that Cumberland with approximately 34,000 residents and Central Falls with approximately 18,000 residents both have the same expenditure @ $38 million dollars.That’s a cost of $1000.00 per resident in Cumberland and $2111.oo per resident in Central Falls.WHY !!!!!

John
John
13 years ago

Let’s see. The Projo says RI’s total work force is 480,589. They conservatively come up with 74,811 state and municipal employees. Let’s say that each one of these employees has one or two other people who vote with them — and their job security and benefits — in mind. That gives a total voting power of between 149,622 and 224,433 votes. Now add to this an additional amount of votes cast by people receiving welfare benefits of some type (Rite Care, subsidized child care, etc.) from the state, and the votes of people who work for RI’s vast not-for-profit “poverty industry” — the Kate Brewsters and Elizabeth Burke Bryants of this world.
Now let’s put this voting power in perspective. In November 2006, Don Carcieri received 197,306 votes, and Charlie Fogarty received 189,503. Now, obviously, among our state and municipal employees, and perhaps among the ranks of our welfare recipients and those who “advocate” for them, there are some who vote Republican. But as you could see in the last election (and that was before the movement of the middle class out of RI accelerated), the balance is quite close.
The inescapable conclusion is that the time may be past where Rhode Island’s accelerating decline could be arrested through electoral means.

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

“In other words, a democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.” – Alexis de Tocqueville
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” – Alexis de Tocqueville
The Democrat General Assembly still doesn’t get it; or if it gets it, doesn’t care enough to “just say no” to the unions and welfare pimps (e.g., Dan Yorke today playing soundbites of Teresa Paiva-Weed calling Alves “courageous” for broaching the subject of raising taxes in this already obscenely overtaxed State).
Does she also consider her General Assembly racking up a $5 billion unfunded pension liability courageous? Apparently so.
Does she also consider her General Assembly’s selling the tobacco windfall at a discount in order to pay current expenditures rather than address the structural deficit courageous? Apparently so.
Thanks to her and her ilk Rhode Island is inevitably headed for public sector fiscal collapse – which in turn makes inevitable continued private sector economic decline as RI will continue to repel employers (given a choice, what company in its right mind would locate here in the land of Operation Dollar Bill and “tax the ‘rich'”)?
The only question being will it be a sudden collapse (such as Providence / Cranston / Woonsocket / Central Falls declaring bankruptcy, and a domino collapse following)?
Or continued gradual decline (until RI resembles other Democrat bastions such as Detroit or Newark)?

Monique
13 years ago

“Dan Yorke today playing soundbites of Teresa Paiva-Weed calling Alves “courageous” for broaching the subject of raising taxes in this already obscenely overtaxed State”
In point of fact, that is the antithesis of courage. Courage would be doing the right thing – in this case, cutting spending – even though you think it might annoy some of your supporters.
While we’re on the subject, would Senator Alves and Leader Weed please elaborate for the public how much spending on social programs and other favorite budget categories they consider sufficient, how much higher taxes would have to climb to accomplish that and specifically how the state and the recipients of those funds would be better off if such spending were implemented?

John
John
13 years ago

Cumberland and Lincoln may differ from Central Falls because I don’t think the fire districts are counted!

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

Note that the payroll numbers appear to only include base salary.
If we add in benefits – recall that Governor Carcieri estimated these as another what, 60-70% of payroll, the cost per resident skyrockets.
Now add in the value of pension benefits and post-retirement health care, and …

Mike
Mike
13 years ago

Takes a whole lot of “courage” to raise taxes and turn that money over to the uon/welfare kleptocracy that ru(i)ns the state.
About as much courage as screaming “Yankees Suck!” at Fenway Park.
As I have said, I really wish the governor would sep aside and let the maggots double or even triple taxes on “da rich”. Let economics work and let this state sink into default, which is the ONLY way the spell of the kleptocracy will be broken.

Marc
13 years ago

Tom W, you make an important point about pension/benefits not being included. The ProJo mentioned that, I should have reiterated.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
13 years ago

Unions can insulate you from economic reality for only so long.
Today the UAW in Detroit, tomorrow Council 94 in Rhode Island!
$14 per hour: The new automotive dream job
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080226/AUTO01/802260359/1148

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