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Nothing Stops the Growth of Army of CA State Employees

Adrian Moore
March 20, 2009, 10:51am

From 2006 to 2008 the state of California added about 40,000 new employees, or one for every 1000 citizens--a stunning rate of growth in its own right, but downright astonishing when you consider the state budget crises we suffered during those years.  See this Reason Foundation study for more gory details on state spending and hiring trends in recent years--it ain't pretty.

Since former Gov. George Deukmejian's final budget in Fiscal Year 1990-91, California's spending has skyrocketed 181 percent. Spending nearly tripled from $51.4 billion in FY 1990-91 to $144.5 billion in FY 2008-09.  Are California's taxpayers getting higher quality services than they did in the 90s? They should be. In FY 1990-91 the state spent $1,350 per capita. Today, the government spends $2,644 per person.

Politicians often blame falling revenues for California's budget woes, but state revenues jumped 167 percent between 1990 and 2008. In FY 1990-91, the state took in over $38 billion in General Fund revenues. By FY 2008-09 revenues were $102 billion. If California had simply limited its spending increases to the 4.38 percent average increase in the state's consumer price index and population growth each year since FY 1990-91, the state would be sitting on a $15 billion surplus right now.

Now, in 2009, with the state facing a more than $40 billion deficit, the biggest financial crisis in the states history, comes the word that the state workforce is STILL growing.


Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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