Parks, Libraries and Sanitation: 2012 Census of Governments Employment and Payroll Data

One of the big news items in the new administration’s proposed budget is that it does not contain the usual “budget dance,” under which the Mayor proposes cutbacks in parks and libraries and then allows the City Council to play the hero by demanding that those services be restored. Given that the New York City tax burden is just about the highest anywhere, as I showed here, and the fact that space-challenged urban dwellers trade away private amenities like their own backyards, books and automobiles for public amenities such as public parks, libraries and transit, one wonders why elected officials felt free to threaten to take those shared amenities away to begin with. In fact as tax dollars have been shifted elsewhere, generally to retroactively enhanced pensions for powerful public employee unions and past debts run up by Generation Greed, New Yorkers have been told they need to “donate” to their parks and libraries, over and above those taxes, lest they lose them. And now they may be told that there will be a tax on those donations as well, so they’d better donate more.

How high, however, is the city’s local government employment in the Parks and Culture, Libraries, and Sanitation functions compared with other places? How well-paid are the local government employees who do that sort of work in NYC, compared with those doing similar work elsewhere? A series of charts that seek to answer those questions may be found on “Saying the Unsaid in New York.”