Category Archives: new york city budget

Census Bureau Public Employment Data: Public School Employment and Payroll in March 2016 and March 2006

In the wake of the Great Recession, the number of people working in public education fell relative to the overall population in much of the country, and inflation-adjusted teacher pay fell in many parts of it.  There was only a partial reversal from March 2014 to March 2016, and it was mostly in places where school staffing and pay were already relatively high.

Several factors contributed to the trend.   First, in some states were the tax burden was already low relative to the personal income of state residents, it was reduced further by anti-tax ideologues.  The result was reductions in public services for the non-elderly across the board, including, in the end, elementary and secondary education. Second, with the large Baby Boom Echo (aka millennial) generation exiting school, and smaller generations entering school, the actual need for school workers fell.   But in some places with high and rising taxes the demand for school jobs increased, as other high-compensation alternatives for politically influential college graduates diminished.   Third, the cost of retired public employees soared, as a result of past taxpayer underfunding in low-tax right-wing states.  And as a result of retroactive pension increases scored by powerful public employee unions in (if by “right-wing” people mean having public policy favor the otherwise advantaged at the expense of those with less power) the other type of right-wing, high-tax states, those generally self-described a “progressive.”  A review of the data follows.

Continue reading

Advertisements

State and Local Government Employment and Pay Per Employee: Census Bureau Data for FY 2016 Compared With FY 2006

The U.S. Census Bureau released state and local government and payroll data for March 2016 last fall, and I compiled it over the past few weeks to see how things changed between March 2006 and that year.  It appears that in New York City some of the reduction in local government employment relative to population was reversed from March 2014 to March 2016.   And it appears than New York City’s local government workers became better off in cash pay relative to private sector workers from 2006 to 2016.  Benefit costs, particularly those for the retired, were soaring at the same time.  I didn’t find the reduction in NYC mass transit employment I expected, based on cuts in service and maintenance.  Meanwhile, the number of students per instructional employee fell to 8.4 in New York City and 7.4 in the rest of New York State.

Those are just some tidbits.   As is my custom, however, while the spreadsheet with the tables and charts may be downloaded from this post, my analysis and understanding of what it means will be presented in later posts. What I’d like is for people to read the background information presented below, download the spreadsheet, look at the tables, and make up their own minds before reading what I have to say about it.

Continue reading

New York Local Government Employment: 1990 to 2017

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released annual average Current Employment Survey data for 2017 this week, and rebenchmarked prior data to the latest unemployment insurance tax records, something it does every March.   The news was good for metro New York. Its total employment for December 2017 was 57,600 higher than had been reported prior to the adjustment, and its increase from the prior December was 22,900 greater.   For New York City alone, the December 2017 estimate of total employment was 25,400 higher, and the change over the year was 3,500 greater. The greatest source of error in this data is an unexpected number of jobs in new businesses, since these cannot be surveyed and must be estimated.

With the 2017 data out, I’ve repeated my charts of local government employment for New York City and the rest of New York State. The charts show that prior trends are continuing, with less local government employment relative to private sector employment. Mostly because more and more tax dollars are going to debts and retirement benefits for those no longer working, rather than workers still on the job and producing public services. For that reason New York City faces fiscal issues, and New York State and the MTA face budget deficits, even though New York City has added an incredible 500,000-plus private sector jobs over five years.

Continue reading

Medicaid by State in 2016: I’ll Take What I Can Get

Some years go the Medicaid Statistical Information System (MSIS) State Datamart, which I once used to compare New York State with the U.S. average and adjacent states with regard to Medicaid expenditures and beneficiaries, was shut down. The most recent data I tabulated was for 2011.   Now, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid has released their new system, T (Transformed) MSIS.

https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/data-and-systems/macbis/tmsis/index.html

I spent a long time looking around the site to try to find the data I once used, but was unable. But I was able to find some more recent Medicaid expenditure data by state and type of service here…

https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/financing-and-reimbursement/state-expenditure-reporting/expenditure-reports/index.html

Including 2016. And was able to get some limited data on spending per enrollee from a secondary source.

https://www.kff.org/state-category/medicaid-chip/

So after three and half years, I’ve decided to write an updated, if limited, post about how New York State’s Medicaid expenditures compare with the U.S. average and adjacent states.

Continue reading

The Executive/Financial Class, the Political/Union Class, and the Serfs, Redux

Two kinds of people have been getting richer. The top executives who sit on each other’s boards of directors and vote each other a higher and higher share of private sector pay, to the detriment of investors, consumers, and other workers. And retired and soon-to-retire public employees in places like New York City, who cut deals with the politicians they control to retroactively increase their already rich pensions, to the detriment of public service recipients and taxpayers. There is the executive/financial class, the political/union class, and the serfs.

The serfs continue to become worse off, adjusted for whatever point we are in the economic cycle. Today they may be a little better off than the were in 2010, but they will still end up worse off than they were in 2007, at the prior peak, which was worse off than they were in 2000, the one before, which was worse off than they were in 1987, etc. The next bottom can be expected to follow the same pattern. And the serfs continue to be lied to and manipulated by the executive/financial class, the political/union class, the media, and “truth telling” professions such as public employee pension actuaries, city and state comptrollers, certified public accountants, stock analysts, bond raters, and executive pay consultants.

This post uses recently released Local Area Personal Income data through 2016, from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, to document the trend. We had better use it while we have it, because the falsification of federal statistics in the interest of the entitled over-privileged is the logical next step in the direction of our society. And if you are a serf who rides the subway who really wants their blood to boil, be sure to read through to the commentary at the end of this post.

Continue reading

Long Term Pension Data for New York and New Jersey to 2016: Teacher Pensions

Across the country taxpayer pension costs for public schools are soaring, and state and local taxes are being increased while money actually spent on education is being cut to pay for it. You see it in California, where a huge tax increase “for education” went exclusively to pensions, and in Illinois, where the City of Chicago’s schools are on the brink of bankruptcy. You see it in Kansas and Oklahoma. In some cases soaring pension costs are the result of past taxpayers’ unwillingness to fund the pensions teachers had been promised, promised for some in lieu of Social Security, which those teachers will not be eligible to receive. In other cases pension costs are soaring because politically powerful teachers’ unions cut deals with the politicians they controlled to drastically increase pension benefits, beyond what had been promised and funded. In many cases there is a mix of both factors.

New York City happens to be the place where the teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), is perhaps the most guilty, and taxpayers are the least guilty, with regard to the pension crisis. And it the place where the burden of teacher retirement is the greatest. The result is large class sizes despite extremely high public school spending, and a host of services that New York City children do not receive. With virtually all New York politicians in on the deals that have left the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System (NYC TRS) among the most underfunded in the country, however, there has been a desperate attempt to cover up the damage. So the consequences of retroactive pension increases for NYC teachers (and police officers and firefighters) have shown up not so much in education (and policing and firefighting), but in every other public service in New York. And all of this is under Omerta.

Continue reading

FY 2015 Census Bureau Data on Public School Spending In New York: Robbed, Sneered At, Resented and Sued

If you live in New York State, there is a lawsuit that claims you have it too good. Your taxes are too low, despite being the highest in the country at the state and local level combined, and too much money is being spent on public services other than public schools, such as mass transit, social services, housing, parks, libraries, everything else. The lawsuit has been filed by the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), funded in part by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), New York City’s teachers’ union, and the NYSUT, the New York State teacher’s union. It claims that New York State residents have stolen $billions for people working in New York’s schools each and every year for more than a decade. And that as a result we are getting what we deserve: schools that are so bad that at least in New York City and Syracuse, they violate the state constitution.

Of course the AQE is claiming it is suing “the state,” not the people who live in it.   But where would “the state” get the additional $billions that those working in education demand be spent on schools? From higher taxes and lower spending on other things, that’s where. The same place that the additional spending on schools that has happened in the past came from. And note that while the claim is that the schools are bad, there is no admission that perhaps that New Yorkers are being cheated by those who work for the public schools. Instead the assertion is the other way around – that those who work in the schools are being cheated by New Yorkers, because they aren’t being given the money they deserve. But how much are the schools getting getting? Let’s go to the Census Bureau’s public education finance data and find out.

Continue reading