For decades, this is what it’s been like for California taxpayers trying to rein in government compensation. But instead of going out of business like a private company, California governments have just raised taxes higher and higher. California residents now suffer the highest individual income tax rate in the country, one of the highest rates of sales tax and corporate income tax rates, and the second highest tax on gasoline. Behind all the increases, there’s a big contributing factor in common: the insatiable salary demands of government employees.
Consider Redwood City, where three fire captains and one firefighter made between $434,274 and $452,733 in total compensation in 2012. One police officer made $463,690 in total compensation. In all, nine employees made over $400,000 in total compensation with a total of 33, mostly police and fire department employees, making over $300,000 in total compensation in 2012.
Those are staggering sums anywhere, but in a city with a population of just 79,009, they’re a recipe for fiscal disaster.
Redwood City is hardly alone. The city manager in Temecula, population of 105,208, made over $497,000, while the advisor to the city manager made over $436,000, both in total compensation. The Fire Battalion chief in the city of Milpitas, population of 68,800, had a compensation package that topped $494,000 in 2012.
Then there’s the Orthopedic Surgeon in Kern County who took home over $1 million in pay and benefits in 2012.
While compensation for public employees keeps driving up taxes, it’s also pushing California tuition sky high. Two University of California Directors made over $900,000 each in 2012, excluding the cost of any benefits. Thousands of UC and California State University employees made over $200,000 in 2012, excluding benefits.
From the state’s top positions to those at the bottom, Transparent California makes it easy for citizens to find inflated salaries and benefits for many public employees. A Monterey County Secretary made over $146,000. An Alameda County sheriff took home over $541,000. The Parks and Recreation Directors in San Jose, Santa Rosa, Cupertino and San Mateo each made over $240,000.
Thousands of firefighters made over $200,000 in salary and benefits in 2012, with hundreds taking home over $300,000.