- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - State government’s employee compensation costs have risen substantially over the last two decades and are expected to keep climbing, according to a nonpartisan analysis released Tuesday.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office says the increased costs to taxpayers are largely because of rising pension and health benefit expenses.

On average, the state will spend about $100,000 per employee each year for salary, retirement and health care in the next fiscal year, up about 30 percent since 1993.

The typical employee is projected to take home about $60,000 next year, if scheduled salary increases of about 2 percent take effect as projected. That take-home pay has largely remained flat for two decades when adjusted for inflation, the report says, largely because of furloughs during the recent budget crisis and increased employee retirement and health care contributions.

Those furlough programs alone saved the state about $5 billion between fiscal 2008-09 and 2012-13, as workers lost pay for several days each month.

The number of state workers has climbed from 265,000 in 1993 to about 355,000 today, including higher education employees. But because of California’s growing population, the state still has about nine employees per 1,000 residents.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposes spending about $24 billion for state employees’ salaries and benefits in the fiscal year starting July 1, including the 2 percent raises, increases in health and pension benefit costs, and the hiring of about 1,600 additional state employees.

That’s up about $500 million from the current fiscal year. Salaries alone will cost about $16 billion, as most workers will see their first pay increases since the 2007-08 fiscal year.

Barring a significant drop in the number of state government workers, the report projects that California’s state employee compensation costs will increase “for the foreseeable future.”

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