Nowhere to cut in the state budget? Are you kidding me?
Let’s do a little benchmarking to see how 42 other states can perform the essential tasks of government with half the funding per capita of Alaska.
According to the latest US Census Data, Alaska has 65% more non-education government workers at the state and local level than the US average. Wyoming, with 415 non-education government workers per 10,000 population appears to have the most public employees per capita. Alaska at 392 employees per 10,000 seems to be a close second. However, when we drill down, we discover that Wyoming’s numbers are skewed by the fact that 28% of all state and local government workers (7,266 workers) in Wyoming are employed in an extensive network of regional and county public hospitals. Those jobs are almost exclusively private sector occupations in Alaska. When we exclude public hospital workers, Alaska is first in the US for relative size of non-education government, by a fairly wide margin (17% above #2 Wyoming).
And here are a few other interesting facts:
#Montana has five times more miles of public roads than Alaska. Yet, Alaska has 20% more state highway workers than the Big Sky state.
#Alaska has 155% more Corrections Workers per capita than the US average with 2,013 public employees.
#With 1,590 judicial workers, Alaska has 69% more public workers per capita in this category than the US average– triple the number of judicial workers per capita compared to Maine.
#Despite our ugly financial situation, Alaska leads the nation in public Financial Management employees per capita– 122% higher than the US average. There are over 2,000 public employees working Alaska’s finances; 400 more than doing the same task Hawaii.
#Alaska is second only to New Hampshire in Public Welfare workers per capita– 93% above the US average. In Hawaii they are able to accomplish this government task with 1/3 the number of state and local government employees, despite their much larger population.
Why does Alaska have so many public employees (excluding education) compared to other States? Is it because Alaska has been on the “gravy train” due to high oil revenues? Isn’t it much easier to grow government when the money is virtually free and no one is really connected to the cost of government? Who would complain when it’s free?
Well, the gravy train has run out of gravy and the free ride is over for Alaskans. Now it is time to take a good hard look at state government and ask: “Why is our government so very, very large?”.
Source: US Census A