IG of the Day: Local Gov’t Payrolls

Source: Washington Examiner. Red dots indicate cities with highest ratios of city workers per resident.
Source: Washington Examiner. Red dots indicate cities with highest ratios of city workers per resident.

Virginia cities rank among the highest in the nation for the number of local government employees expressed as a ratio of the population, according to data compiled by the Washington Examiner. Richmond ranked 5th with one city worker for every 39 residents. Norfolk scored in the top quintile with one worker for every 44 residents, Chesapeake in the second quintile with one worker per 58 residents and Virginia Beach with one for every 68 residents. Across the Potomac, Washington, D.C., scored tops in the country with one city worker for every 25 residents.

Contrast that to Toledo, Ohio, with only one city worker for every 132 residents.

Does that mean city governments are more bloated in Virginia than in other states? Possibly, but not necessarily. As the Examiner points out, different states allocate responsibilities differently between state governments, local governments and regional authorities. Virginia is unique in the country for creating cities and counties as completely separate, as opposed to overlapping, government entities. Thus Virginia cities might take on functions, and employees, performed by counties in other states.

Still, taxpayers should use the data to ask tough questions of their elected officials. (Hat tip Larry Gross.)


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2 responses to “IG of the Day: Local Gov’t Payrolls”

  1. larryg Avatar

    Detroit has 61. The concept seems legitimate to me – especially when you end up with pensions and 1/2 of Detroit’s 18 billion dollar debt is pensions.

    break the data down into functions like law enforcement, utilities, etc.

    but Detroit is 61 right now. What did it look like on a trend basis?

    the reason I like this is not because there are firm, pat answers. As Jim points out… cities can vary on a number of factors.

    but it’s a benchmark. One in which you could then not only compare to other cities – but compare to other cities pension obligations …..

    compare to their pension obligations over a time period… i.e. is that city headed for pension trouble?

    I’ve read articles pro and con that say Detroit is or is not unique but real data can’t hurt in better understanding.

    remember also – this is what happened when we DID bail out the auto companies.

    it would have likely been even worse and involve even more cities had we not.

  2. larryg Avatar

    18 billion debt for about 700,000 people = about 25K per person debt.

    I wonder what Richmond or Hampton, DC, etc would look like….

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