Maine’s State Workforce is Too Big and Overpaid . . . But Where?

Read the full report | 2006 research by The Maine Heritage Policy Center, using data from the U. S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), concluded that the Maine state workforce was too big and overpaid. In 2007, if Maine’s state workforce, as a percent of the private sector workforce, was at the national average there would have been 4,497 fewer state workers – 22,985 versus 27,482. This over-employment cost Maine taxpayers up to $189,451,468 in 2007.

In addition, Maine’s state workforce compensation levels are far above the national average for similar state government positions. In 2007, the average Maine state government worker took home $51,073, including wages, overtime and benefits. If Maine state workers’ compensation was at the average ratio of public versus private sector employees, it would have been $42,130. This over-compensation cost the Maine taxpayers up to $245,772,870 in 2007.

The total price tag for the combination of Maine’s over-employment and over-compensation was a staggering figure of up to $435,224,338 in 2007. If these savings could be used to lower Maine’s state tax burden (as a percent of personal income) it would represent a reduction of about 12 percent: declining from 8.24 to 7.27 percent.