NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 17, 2006

As D.C. taxpayers face higher property assessments, user fees and traffic fines, the city government is paying more in salaries and benefits for its smaller work force, says the Washington Times.

  • The D.C. government's payroll grew by nearly $180 million between 2002 and last year, while its work force decreased by more than 2,000 personnel, city records show.
  • In addition, the number of city workers earning salaries of $150,000 or more climbed from nine in 2002 to 43 last year, when the median income for a four-member D.C. family was $56,067.
  • Meanwhile, the District last year amassed a $370 million general fund budget surplus, and city officials perennially eye other revenue sources, such as a commuter tax.   

According to data from the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer:

  • The government's payroll rose 11.6 percent -- from $1.55 billion to $1.73 billion -- between 2002 and last year.
  • During that period, the total number of employees on the payroll declined by 5.3 percent -- from 41,171 to 39,088 employees. The number of authorized full-time employee positions decreased from 31,307 in 2002 to 30,434 last year.  

D.C. officials defended the high salaries, saying they need to pay more to attract and retain quality personnel while meeting the governmental needs of a city and of a state.

Source: Matthew Cella, "D.C. fields fewer workers, but payroll cost soars," Washington Times, July 17, 2006.


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