State government salary

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State government salary websites do not normally post specific salaries of employees. Occasionally, the top paid employees will be published by the government, but comprehensive databases are still rare. State governments do regularly post a searchable checkbook, salary schedules and benefits information. The information listed below primarily comes from alternative sites that utilize Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to petition the state to release the public salary information.

Employee information as public records

The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, is a federal law requiring partial or full disclosure of previously unreleased documents controlled by the government. There are 50 state sunshine laws that apply this idea to the states.

The purpose of FOIA is to increase the availability of public records to citizens. Generally, names, sex, race, title and dates of employment for all employees and officers of public bodies are available. Additionally, most states will release records containing employee salary, with some limitations (usually minimum compensation). While most states require an individual or organization to request the salary information, some states proactively disclose a searchable salary database of all public employee salaries.

State salary sites

See also: State public employee salary resources

The following is a list of states that sponsor an employee salary portal or database and includes outside databases. This list is current as of June 2012.

State Salary information Site
Alabama Yes Alabama Government Open Spending
Alaska Partial, salary schedule Alaska Government Salary Schedule
Arizona Yes* Arizona Data Pages
Arkansas Yes* Secure Arkansas Network
California Yes California Government Compensation
Colorado Yes* Colorado Gazette
Connecticut Yes* Connecticut Post
Delaware Yes* Delaware Online State Salaries
Florida Yes Florida Government Salaries
Georgia Yes Georgia Government Salaries
Hawaii Yes* Civil Beat Hawaii Salaries
Idaho Partial, pay schedule Idaho Government Salaries
Illinois Yes Illinois Accountability
Indiana Yes* Indiana Indy Star
Iowa Yes Iowa Government Salary Book
Kansas Partial, pay rates Kansas Government Pay Rates (dead link)
Kentucky Yes Kentucky Government Salaries
Louisiana Yes* Louisiana Sunshine Salaries
Maine Yes Maine Open Government
Maryland Partial, salary schedules Maryland Government Salary Schedules
Massachusetts Yes* The Boston Herald (dead link)
Michigan Yes* Lansing State Journal
Minnesota Yes* Twin Cities Salaries
Mississippi No N/A
Missouri Yes Missouri Map Your Taxes
Montana Partial Montana Government Salaries
Nebraska Yes Nebraska Access Government Salaries
Nevada Yes* Transparent Nevada
New Hampshire Yes New Hampshire Government Transparency Pay
New Jersey Yes* My Central Jersey
New Mexico Partial, salary schedules New Mexico Government Salary Schedules
New York Yes* New York Salary Database (timed out)
North Carolina Yes* NC News Observer
North Dakota No N/A
Ohio Yes Ohio Government Salaries
Oklahoma Yes* Oklahoma Tulsa World
Oregon Yes* Oregon Statesman Journal
Pennsylvania No N/A
Rhode Island Partial, pay schedule Rhode Island Government Salaries
South Carolina Yes* South Caroline The State
South Dakota Yes* South Dakota Open Government Salaries
Tennessee Partial, 2009 The Tennessean
Texas Yes* The Texas Tribune
Utah Yes* Utah's Right
Vermont Yes* Vermont Burlington Free Press
Virginia Yes* Virginia Times Dispatch
Washington Yes Washington Government Salaries
West Virginia No Requires name, address, birth date to access
Wisconsin Yes* Milwaukee, WI Journal Sentinel
Wyoming Partial, pay schedules Wyoming Government Pay Schedules

*Information is available, but not through a government website.

State university football coach pay

Public university coaches are state employees. State schools are funded primarily by taxpayer money and tuition rates that are set by state governments. Often, university head coaches (primarily football) are the highest paid state government workers.[1]

State School Amount
Alabama University of Alabama $6 million
Texas University of Texas $5.1 million
Oklahoma University of Oklahoma $4.3 million
Louisiana Louisiana State University $3.9 million
Ohio Ohio State $3.9 million
Iowa University of Iowa $3.7 million
Georgia University of Georgia $2.9 million
Arkansas University of Arkansas $2.7 million
Florida University of Florida $2.7 million

State government salaries in the news

  • In 2009, Illinois created the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal to record state government spending. The Illinois Policy Institute discovered that someone in state government removed salary information data from 2008-2009.
  • Despite severe budget shortfalls in a majority of states, salaries for college football coaches at large public universities continues to rise.[2]
  • Faced with increasing push-back from the public, the media, government watchdogs and lawmakers, the Department of Justice agreed to drop a proposed regulation that would have allowed government agencies to simply tell citizens that the records they request do not exist. The “no record” response could well be untrue and misleading.[3]

What information should be available?

Ideally, the state should develop, publish and regularly update a comprehensive database of the salary and benefit information for state government employees. Of the least importance is the name of the individual receiving compensation, but listing titles and job descriptions along with salary information is imperative. This information allows citizens to compare what individuals in their state are being paid and whether it is reasonable in relation to similar positions in other states.

By updating state government salary information in conjunction with annual budget releases or audits, third parties do not have to FOIA the information and publish it on websites that governments cannot control. Forcing the use of a middleman to publish the information is less efficient and less cost-effective.

Privacy concerns

Identity security is a valid concern that arises from public government salaries.[4] One option is for states to provide educational training to public employees on how to keep their identities secure. Additionally, it may also assuage concerns to narrowly tailor pension and salary information made available online.[5] Although arguably unnecessary, it is possible to release only the names of individuals receiving pension benefits above a certain level or assign numbers to retirees as opposed to names.

States are overwhelmingly trending towards full disclosure of benefits and salaries because the interest in state and local transparency outweighs the interest in maintaining this modicum of privacy for government employees. Rather that attempting to conceal some aspects of personal information, a futile effort amidst public records, the emphasis should focus on how to ensure that potential wrongdoers cannot manipulate this information for their own benefit.

Identity theft is hardly rampant and certainly does not target the public employee demographic. Both state and federal law require that government offices redact all information of a “personal nature” from FOIA requests that could potentially be misused, including social security numbers or information relating to ongoing police investigations.[6]

See also