Emails (excerpted), Kate Johanns, director of Marketing and Communications, Texas Public Employees Association, Feb. 18, 2015
TPEA’s number of employees of general state government (non-higher ed) is approximately 148,000, which is backed up by the attached FTEReportPublic-3, which came from the State Auditor’s Office (http://www.sao.state.tx.us/apps/ftesystem/%28S%28nhdqt045txo0iyzyoshqdg55%29%29/default.aspx), using the query for only state agencies and only quarter 4 of 2014. That would show the total number of FTEs (based on TPEA’s definition of FTEs of general state government) as 148,386. I don’t know if comparable information is available somewhere for California or Illinois.
The Fiscal Size-Up document (http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/Publications/Fiscal_SizeUp/Fiscal_SizeUp_2014-15.pdf) includes some interesting points on why comparing state government workforces isn’t easy or necessarily accurate. For instance, in regard to higher education, on page 62 (page 89 of the PDF), it points out “Another factor affecting higher education employment levels is the availability of and enrollment in private institutions in each state. Texas has the highest proportion of students enrolled in public universities and the lowest proportion in private universities of the 15 most populous states.” Also, on page 63 (90 of the PDF): “How states allocate responsibility for higher education between state and local governments also influences the state employment level.” So, if one were to count higher ed among the employees of state government—which TPEA wouldn’t—then these factors would need to be taken into consideration. (Plus, as I mentioned on the phone, the political will to increase the size of higher education by increasing the number of research institutions.)
Director of Marketing and Communications
Texas Public Employees Association
Why not count all agencies? We define our constituency as those state employees whose positions (pending the new hire wait period) make them contributing members of ERS. The higher education positions make employees contributing members of TRS. Plus, as discussed, the higher education community has more revenue streams than general state government does.