How could state employees possibly increase by 1/3 since 1990?
Many of the major areas of state government- tax calculation and collection, drivers license issuance, welfare and unemployment check cutting- are all basically clerical functions which automation and computerization have really progressed during the past 20 years and actually require fewer employees and man hours to accomplish.
California must really have either left behind the whole computer revolution, added numerous new programs or both during the period in question to “achieve” such a high rate of payroll growth.
remember that employees are voters too, and a lot of those are unionized.
at both the state and federal level, who are the largest employers these days?
state and federal gubamints.
what is wrong with that picture?
They embraced the computer revolution. California has built many failed computer networks. There was a big one some years back that cost between $100 million and $200 million that was scrapped before going online because it didn't work. There are a large number of bureaucrats who order the creation of useless computer generated reports, which in turn require an army of people to maintain. There are clerks whose sole job is to check that reports run each day, and rerun them if needed. I know someone like that, probably puts in 2 hours of honest work in a week.
Different teams of people are needed for installing fiber cable, copper cable, for asbestos abatement whenever cables are run, etc. Then it's all redone. Lots of make-work "jobs".
There is no problem insignificant enough to be underserving of our tax dollars.
If you use the technology stupidly, you can be even less efficient than simply doing things by hand.
“How could state employees possibly increase by 1/3 since 1990?”
Easy. Hire anybody who applies so long as you fill a quota slot.