Our arch-nemesis, Carter Bundy of AFSCME dismisses our work on New Mexico’s government over-employment problem by saying that large, sparsely populated states naturally have bigger government bureaucracies (as does New Mexico). Our study can be found here and the relevant chart is on page 3. I heard Carter say this on the radio today, so he’s not letting it drop.
First and foremost, Bundy, in his article above, uses incorrect data. His top ten list is from 1970, the left hand column (again, on page 3), not the right hand column which is 2008 data. Utah is not in the top 10 in government employment, nor is Idaho, South Dakota, or Montana. In fact, Carter’s argument that big (in square miles) and small in population states — aside from Alaska which is totally unique because of its massive oil revenues — doesn’t hold water. It may have in 1970, but that is a long time ago. For a full list of states by population density, check this page out.
Now among the top ten in state and local employment are West Virginia, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Sure, these are decent-sized states, but not the largest, nor the least densely populated. Anyway, New Mexico has a problem — the second-largest government workforce by population size in the entire nation.