YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW: NY government payroll posted online

Empire Center gives citizens access to compensation for thousands of employees in state and local government

Categories: Opinion

One important piece of information that taxpayers in New York have a right to know is how much of their tax dollars are being paid to government employees.

But if you had to go individually to each government entity to find out the information, it could take you a tremendous amount of time, not to mention that you’ll probably run up against a wall of opposition from some entities that might not want you to have that information.

Thankfully, the Empire Center for Pubic Policy, an invaluable nonpartisan government watchdog group, saves citizens the trouble of asking for the salaries from whatever municipal board, school district or state agency they want to know about by gathering and posting the entire government payroll online — state and local.

And it just released the payroll for the 2019 calendar year.

The new database includes the names, titles, base pay rates and total pay of more than 307,000 individuals who worked in the state’s executive, legislative or judicial branches at any point in 2019. (It does not include the cost of pensions, health insurance for employees and retirees, and other benefits.)

The database allows you to search for payrolls by city, county, town, village, executive, New York City, public authorities, schools, special districts and all three branches of state government (executive, legislative and judicial). It’s easy to narrow your search to individual entities and to search by a person’s name and title. So if you’re looking for a specific government employee, you just plug in the name, and the pay will appear.

The database goes all the way back to 2008 in case, for instance, you want to see the progression of salaries.

Of course, government employees don’t usually like people knowing what they earn. But that’s one of the sacrifices they make when they decide to work for the taxpayers. 

To find the payroll database, visit the SeeThroughNY website and hit the tab for Payrolls. Or click here to jump right to it.

This is a tremendous service that the Empire Center provides each year to New Yorkers. If you’re interested in this aspect of where your tax dollars are being spent, take a few minutes to check this out.

It’s your right to know. Keep government honest and accountable by exercising that right.


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