The Gucci Gang: More Than 1,500 State Workers Made Over 100k in 2017


You don’t need to work in the private sector if you want to be a part of what rapper “Lil Pump” calls the “Gucci Gang.”

Nope. In fact, you can easily rock Prada even if you’re one of the many highly paid state workers here in Rhode Island.

That’s because there were just over 1,500 state employees who earned more than $100,000 in the state’s fiscal year 2017. There were 1,505 Rhode Island state workers who earned more than 6 figures, to be exact.

The average income of those earners was $122,721.

(The 2017 fiscal year ran from July 1, 2016 until June 30, 2017.)

There were 33 workers who earned more than $200,000. See the list here

Big Dollars

The total amount of salary paid to all of those workers combined was $185.8 million.

That means, weekends and holidays included, it cost the state about $509,041 per day to pays those 1,505 workers.

It cost the state roughly $21,210 each and every hour of every single day to pay this particular group of highly paid individuals.

The state paid $353 per minute to pay this group. Every single second that ticked by, it cost the state taxpayers $5.80 to pay those 1,505 employees.

The state’s Chief Executive Officer, Governor Gina Raimondo, earned $140,695.

The Governor has the most responsibility in state government. But that doesn’t mean she makes the most money–not even close.

Making More Than The Boss!

In fact, there were 354 workers who earned more money in fiscal year 2017 than Governor Raimondo.

The state’s highest paid employee was Daniel Hurley, the University of Rhode Island’s basketball coach. He earned $869,999.

The state’s second highest employee was also an employee of URI–school president David Dooley. He earned $349,846.

The state university had the most employees earning more than six figures. URI had 480 employees who earned more than $100,000.

The Judiciary has the second largest number of workers earning more than $100,000. There were 130 taking home more than 100 large.

The State Has a Deficit

The state is currently, according to reports from the state’s budget officer Tom Mullaney, on track to run a $60 million deficit in this fiscal year. Mullaney, for his part, earned a cool $185,739 in fiscal year 2017.

If the state workers earning more than $100,000 collectively and unanimously agreed to take a 20 percent pay cut, state taxpayers would save just over $37 million. This, of course, assumes the same workers are earning similar amounts as last year. That would knock out almost two thirds of this year’s deficit.

The median per capita income in Rhode Island, according to census data from 2016, was $31,904.

In days gone by, there was this notion out there that public sector workers didn’t earn as much money as their private sector counterparts–who are more susceptible to the unpredictability of market forces–but were rewarded with job security and greater benefits (such as pension and health care.)

It Pays (The State)

Today, that notion doesn’t seem to hold much water any more. At least that’s the case if you ask Justin Katz, a Policy and Research Analyst from the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity.

“I don’t believe it’s accurate to say government workers earn less in salary than in the private sector,” said Katz. “In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a Rhode Island-specific study, whether trying to compare apples to apples or just taking raw averages that finds anything but a premium for working in government, in RI.”

Katz said that if the state reduced the pay of its state employees, it would help the state make a bold, economy bolstering move–such as slashing its sales tax.

Russell Moore
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