The Illusion of Shrinking State Government

Back in September of 2008, Governor Rendell announced a state-wide hiring freeze in all agencies under his control to help curb declining revenues and a weakened national economy. Now, over a year later, Rendell has announced that more state layoffs will be coming this week, with 319 jobs being cut from 10 state agencies. What may seem like a significant cut in state staff is actually a marginal reduction.

One of the agencies to be hardest hit by the state layoffs is the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), facing a 5% staffing cut or 138 total jobs from their payroll. As it turns out, since January 2008, the DEP has hired nearly 170 new employees regardless of hiring freeze.

DEP_Hires in January 08

By laying off 138 staffers, the DEP hasn’t lost jobs…they’ve gained 30 in the past two years! This is just one agency; imagine how many total employees have been hired since the supposed “hiring freeze” began over a year ago.