Here’s your state payroll, suckers

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So you thought Gov. Clement Leroy Otter cashed fat paychecks, did you?

Well, most Idahoans would gladly trade places in the bank line with Butch. The state’s chief exec earns $126,302 annually.

However, take a gander at one of the best websites in cyberspace — transparent.idaho.gov — and you won’t find Gov. Otter’s name anywhere close to the top of the list of highest paid state employees.

As a matter of fact, 442 state employees earn bigger paychecks than Butch. Atop the heap, of course, is a football coach: Boise State’s Bryan Harsin, pulling down a cool $1,450,009.60. Boise State basketball coach Leon Rice takes the silver medal at $675,001.60, with Boise State President Bob Kustra third at $411,432.79. Adding a slap to the kick at Joe Vandal’s shin is this tidbit: Idaho State University’s president, Arthur Vailas, is paid more than University of Idaho boss Chuck Staben, $392,013.20 to $385,236.80. Ouch!

Es bueno to be a Bronco, apparently. Sixteen of the 24 highest paid state employees work for BSU. And if you take the time to scroll down through the 13-plus pages of state employees being paid more than our governor, you will see not just Boise State showing up again and again, but a distinct presence of state university people successfully pulling the lever of the taxpayers’ slot machine. Thirty of the 32 highest paid employees work for state universities. Of the 53 Idaho state employees who earn more than $200,000 a year — that doesn’t even include benefits, like health insurance and the fabulous Public Employees State Retirement System of Idaho program — only seven do not work for a university.

Other than make you feel jealous on a Sunday morning, there is an observation or two here.

One is that this government website, transparent.idaho.gov, is a revelation for every active Idaho citizen. The site should serve as a model for every county and city in the state, a beacon for real government transparency.

The other is that when you look at those highest-paid figures, you get at least some idea why the costs of higher education, even here in the alleged land of affordability, have skyrocketed beyond what most citizens can afford without going steeply into debt. Many of these salaries will leave you scratching your head. Others will simply make you sick.

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