Tag Archives: census bureau education finance

Public Employee Pensions In NY and NJ: 2013 Data (and Commentary on NYC Comptroller Stringer’s Deceptions, Etc.)

This is a “give the people what they want” post. After recently completing two analyses of public employee pensions for 50 states over 20 and 40 years, I’m not really up to do another one. And yet I find that the database of Census Bureau data I compiled on the individual public employee pension funds in New York and New Jersey, and the related posts I wrote, a year and 20 months ago are still among the most read and downloaded on “Saying the Unsaid in New York,” according to WordPress.

The Bureau has released data for FY 2013, and I have appended it to the database I compiled previously. And updated the charts for New York City, New York State and New Jersey teacher pension funds, the New Jersey and New York City police and fire pension funds, and the funds for other employees in New York City, New York State and New Jersey. These are linked below. I’m not going to write another three posts on this data – there aren’t enough changes from year-to-year to make it worthwhile. But I do plan to comment on some items that have come out (or not come out) in the news over the past year. Because every year, ordinary people and younger generations get robbed in NYC via public employee pensions. Just like on Wall Street.

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Sold Out Futures By State: Debt and Capital Construction Investments, Census of Governments Data

When people think about America’s debt problem, they generally think about the national debt, which is to say the on-the-books debts of the federal government held by the general public. U.S. debts in general, however, have soared from a total of less than 170 percent of GDP from the 1950s to the early 1980s to nearly 350 percent of GDP in 2008, as I noted here.


Consumer debt soared. Business debt soared. And state and local government debt soared, from 12.4% of GDP in 1980 to 20.6% of GDP in 2009, before dropping back. While state and local governments are generally required to run balanced budgets, they also tend to have separate capital budgets, under which money is borrowed for long-term capital investments. While state and local government debt has been trending up, however, infrastructure expenditures have trended in the other direction. The result is a sold-out future.

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Local Government Education Expenditures: 2012 Census of Governments Data

Perhaps the most important reason that New York’s state and local tax burden is so high, as discussed here,


is that its public school spending is high as well. High not only per student, but also per $1,000 of state residents’ income, the income they must use to pay for those public schools. High not only compared with the U.S. average but also with adjacent states in the Northeast. High not only in affluent suburbs, but also just about elsewhere in the state.

The U.S. averaged $40.76 in elementary and secondary school spending per $1,000 of personal income in FY 2012, according to the Census of Governments from the U.S. Census Bureau. The New York State average was $52.38, which ranked fourth even though New York City’s teacher pension contributions, which are considerable, are excluded from the calculation. The states with higher spending as a share of their residents’ income were Alaska and Wyoming, where high spending is funded by oil, gas and mineral extraction taxes rather than other businesses and residents, and (barely) Vermont. The teachers’ union calls New York State’s schools “underfunded.” That means that if any of the other states decided to fund a huge school spending increase funded by big tax increase, like New York City over the past 15 years, it would still face claims that the schools had limited obligations because spending wasn’t high enough. Continue reading

Census of Governments Public School Finance Data: FY 2012, 2002, and 1992

The U.S. Census Bureau released its public education finance data for FY 2012 last Thursday, along with this report which includes data by state and for the 100 largest school districts.


I recommend paying attention to Table 11, per pupil revenues and expenditures by category, and Table 12, spending per $1,000 of state residents’ personal income by category, a figure that takes into account the relative cost of living and ability to pay in different states. Table 18 has per pupil amounts for the 100 largest school districts, albeit without such an adjustment. As usual I have downloaded and compiled more detailed data from the Bureau, including more data categories and data for every individual school district in New York, also aggregated into different regions of the state, and every school district in New Jersey. It took 10 hours to do this compilation, mostly because I repeated it for FY 2012, FY 2002, and FY 1992, three roughly economically comparable years that also approximately match the beginning and end of the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations in New York City.

The data shows that in FY 2012 New York City spent $22,884 per student, somewhat lower than the average of $23,914 for the Downstate Suburbs but more than the $18,827 for New Jersey, the $18,815 for the Upstate Urban Counties, the $19,354 for the Rest of New York State, the $18,242 in Connecticut, and the $16,076 in Massachusetts. The U.S. average was just $12,295 per student. As usual I have adjusted some of these figures for the higher average private sector wage and cost of living in the Northeast.  This reduces the NYC figure to $17,865 per child, still 45.3% higher than the U.S. average but below the average for Upstate New York. Moreover, on an unadjusted basis the city spent $13,627 per student on instructional (mostly teachers) wages and benefits in FY 2012. That is $272,540 for every 20 students and $163,500 for every 12 students – during a time when most New Yorkers were under stress from a weak economy and yet the NYC teacher’s union claimed teachers were underpaid and stoked their resentment and de-motivation. The spreadsheets may be found below .

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