Iowa Makes a Top Ten List – For State Employee Pay

On June 4, Fiscal Services released updated information on state employee salaries in Iowa as well as the rest of the United States. State employees continue to do better than private sector workers. The information does provide evidence that open scope collective bargaining changes would be expensive for taxpayers.

The information…provide[s] evidence that open scope collective bargaining changes would be expensive for taxpayers.

Based upon data from the U.S. Census Bureau, State Government Employment Payroll for March 2007, the State of Iowa ranks 9th in total average payroll. Based upon this data, Iowa Government has an average monthly payroll per FTE of $4,479 ($53,748 annually) for 53,427 FTE positions.

The national average per month is $4,131 ($49,572). Going back to 1997 (the tail end of the Branstad Administration), Iowa was 14th and less than $100 per month more than the national average. Now Iowa ranks 9th and is almost $350 per month above the national average. The increase is in large part due to the Vilsack Administration being more favorable to the state employee unions than Branstad.

Here are the rankings through 2007:

Rank State Total Pay Full-Time
Average FTE
Monthly Pay
1 California $2,118,772,912 387,168 $5,472
2 New Jersey $811,663,283 155,685 $5,213
3 Connecticut $308,093,898 61,823 $4,983
4 New York $1,225,581,201 253,354 $4,837
5 Massachusetts $450,308,816 96,109 $4,685
6 Rhode Island $94,855,397 20,435 $4,642
7 Nevada $128,939,233 28,506 $4,523
8 Minnesota $352,923,171 78,266 $4,509
9 Iowa $239,302,959 53,427 $4,479
10 Colorado $301,750,774 67,784 $4,452
US Total $17,788,744,794 4,306,623 $4,131

Every one of Iowa’s neighbors, except Minnesota, ranks lower on the list. Illinois, with its history of corruption and political patronage, ranked behind Iowa (Illinois ranked #12).

These numbers show that Iowa’s state employees are very well compensated. It is also evidence that undercut any argument from labor interests that public employees need open scope bargaining to be properly compensated. The bottom line is that the state and taxpayers cannot afford the increases that would be brought on by the adoption of open scope collective bargaining.

Data: Employee Rank 1997 2002 and 2007 March (PDF)

  • Dave Roederer

    Is this report available on line?

  • JasonC

    The file is now linked at the bottom of the article. It was user generated from the Census Bureau’s Build-a-Table tool with data from the Census of Government Employment.