In 2017 California's state payroll increased by more than $1 billion, twice the growth rate as the previous year according to the State Controller's Office.
Over half of the state's workforce voted on labor agreements at the start of last year that included big pay raises. The largest contract was for Service Employees Union Local 1000. It included one-time bonuses of $2,500 for more than 95,000 state workers.
That amounts to more than $235 million in total compensation for workers the union represents. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation got a $452 million, and the The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection made out with $87 million.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the majority of the state's highest paid employees outside of universities are doctors and dentists in the California prison system.
Their union worked out a pay raise of up to 24% over the next 4 years. Prison health officials' excuse is that it's hard to find people to take on the job.
The highest paid state worker not affiliated with a university is Ted Eliopoulos, the chief investment officer of CalPERS. Last year he made $867,000, which is up from $768,000 in 2016.