More Than 1,000 State Workers Took Home $100,000+ in Pay in 2010

[Madison, Wisc…] A search of the MacIver Institute’s new transparency website reveals that 844 state employees made over $100,000 a year in salary alone in 2010.

That number jumps to 1,031 when you include overtime payments.

“As the public engages in a debate over government employee compensation, we believe it is important that it be an informed debate,” said MacIver President Brett Healy. “We are committed to keeping Wisconsin’s premier web portal for searchable payroll and benefit data for government employees.”

The  searchable 2010 State payroll data covers employees of all state agencies, totaling 37,100 employees. Not included are University of Wisconsin personnel, and employees of the legislature, judicial branch and Governor’s offices. The MacIver Institute is in the process of obtaining that data and will post on in the coming months.

MacIver Institute staff does not augment or manipulate the data it receives from the state and local governments. Healy says the site currently includes payroll information for all state employees, payroll and benefit information for every K-12 school employee in Wisconsin and information from several large municipalities. Launched last month, all of the data available on is public, in accordance to state law. However, different government entities have varying commitments to just how accessible the information was to the general public. After announcing that the 2010 State of Wisconsin payroll data was live on Monday, the site experienced its highest number of unique visitors and highest volume of searches to date.

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a two-year old think tank located on the Capitol Square in Madison, is the Free Market Voice for Wisconsin. In addition to, MacIver publishes research and analysis on education, tax and health care issues and operates the MacIver News Service—a copyright free open source news-reporting agency which focuses on free market issues in the public arena.

  • Dan Kursevski

    That is interesting. I would like to know the number who make less than $36,000/yr. Just to compare the two and give myself and other taxpayers some perspective.

  • Kevin

    12,473 state employees (not including K-12 teachers and municipalities or the other groups they mention are excluded) made less than $36,000 in 2010 according to a search on their site.

  • Darcy

    You mean they couldn\’t find more than 1,000 prosecutors, medical doctors, professors, law enforcement professionals, agency administrators, civil engineers or environmental scientists worth paying, salary+benefits, $100,000/year?

    But Scott Walker could find a college drop-out – the son of one of his biggest donors – willing to accept $81,000/year + benefit to fill a job he was wholly unqualified for.

    Looks like the pay scales for public sector jobs in Wisconsin are waaayyyy to low to attract the best and the brighest.

  • jjd

    Two percent seems pretty low considering there are professionals (doctors, dentists, attorneys) and Chief Operating Officers of multi-million dollar operations needed to operate state services. And 33% making less than $36,000. I would love to see how that compares to private sector employers.

    I challenge the institute to publish American Family Insurance Corporation and Epic Corporation percentage of $100,000 and up earners. It would be a much higher percentage.

  • John

    As a now retired County employee with an advanced engineering degree, I made far less than did my colleagues who worked in the private sector.

    While I made considerably less than $100,000, those in private business made far above that magic number.

    This story is a yawner.


  • State Employee

    I work for the state and I find it ironic that McIver posted erroneous numbers here. They take the overall pay for the year which already has the overtime factored in, then show the overtime pay and add the 2 together. They are reporting bloated numbers here people.

  • Jon

    I love it when you compare the private sector to the public sector. The main problem isn\’t that some state employees are making a 100k, the problem is were paying over 37000 people to perform the states work. What a joke!!!!

  • Carie

    Kevin..are you adding in the benefits packages? I\’m a state employee who makes less than $36,000, but if you add my benefits it comes to about $58,000-and the insurance + lavish time off is well worth it. If we\’re going to be honest, than let\’s do just that. I\’d ask John + the others to admit to their benefit packages as well.

  • Dan Kursevski

    Benefits are real nice but try making a car payment with them or for that matter filling up your car. There are a large percentage of state employees who are having a hard time getting by right now. If you are going to make the benefit package comparable to the private sector, you should also make the pay comparable.