The N&O has this article discussing the very real issue of North Carolina state workers being laid off in an effort to balance the budget.
Payroll is a huge expense for the state. Lawmakers have chipped away at it in recent years through furloughs, pay freezes and increases in health insurance premiums. And, quietly, with little fanfare, departments have laid off state workers. In the last year and a half, about 1,000 state employees have been let go to cut the budget, according to the Office of State Personnel.
In a related article, the N&O discusses estimates for how much taxpayers can save from state worker layoffs.
The first-year net savings from shedding a state employee earning an average salary is less than $19,000, according to data from the Fiscal Research Division at the General Assembly.
That modest savings comes after the state pays legally required unemployment benefits, severance payouts and health insurance for a year and absorbs estimated losses from taxes that its former workers wouldn’t pay.
For a little perspective on the growth of state government workers, see this article in which I detailed state government versus private sector workforces in North Carolina from 2001 to 2009. During that time, state government’s workforce swelled by roughly 35,000. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s private sector shed nearly 50,000 jobs.
The trend of state government employment growth outpacing the private sector does not sit well with most North Carolinians. A July 2010 Civitas poll showed that by nearly 3 to 1, respondents agreed that “The rate of growth of government jobs should not exceed the rate of growth of private sector jobs.”