This story has been updated.

Let’s be honest: No one really likes paying their taxes. But since we have to pay them, you should know how the state spends the money.

PublicSource obtained state salary data for Pennsylvania employees for 2016. The data includes the agency an employee works for, when they were hired, their annual salary and the overtime they earned.

We received the data from the state Office of Administration. Unlike other government entities, the office would not release race and gender information tied to specific state employees. Instead, the office provided aggregate breakdowns of race and gender of its employees by department.

In the data, an employee’s “gross pay” includes a person’s annual salary, overtime pay and any other payouts they received before tax and Social Security deductions. State employees also receive health benefits and pensions that are not included in this analysis of salaries.

The state listed 92,157 employees in 2016; 1,573 of them didn’t earn any money, though, because they were either on leave or because they had left their jobs prior to 2016 but remained in the state’s system. Gov. Tom Wolf earned his salary of $189,819, but donated it to charity, as he has done each year since 2014.

As you explore the state data, let us know if you find anything newsworthy.

You can reach J. Dale Shoemaker at 412-515-0069 or He’s on Twitter at @JDale_Shoemaker. And you can reach Natasha Khan at 412-515-0063 She’s on Twitter at @khantasha.

Top earners

With overtime factored in, the top earners in the state last year came mostly from the Department of Human Services and the Pennsylvania State Police. However, corrections officers in the state’s prisons as well as physicians and psychiatrists in other departments earn the most, largely because they work so many overtime hours. State police officers rank so high because they receive large leave payouts — money they earn by not taking sick or vacation days. Like other public employees we’ve written about, some earn more money in overtime than they do in their salary.

Without overtime, you’ll find many of the people who manage the Public School Employee Retirement System topping the list. Gov. Tom Wolf also appears on this list, ranking 20th. He makes $189,819 but donates all of his salary to charities like the United Way of York County or United Way of Pennsylvania.

First names of corrections officers are not considered public information and were withheld from the data PublicSource received.

Without overtime and leave pay

With overtime and leave pay

Salary spending by agency

In the table below, take a look at how much each agency spends on salaries for its workers. Keep in mind that large departments with a lot of employees will naturally spend more on salaries and that those figures aren’t necessarily the result of those employees making more money individually.

Updated April 17, 2017: A previous version of the article didn’t clearly state the difference between an employee’s “gross pay” and their take-home pay. While it’s true that gross pay captures what employees take home, gross pay does not equal take-home pay. Gross pay is what an employee gets before any deductions are taken out for state and federal taxes, Social Security and health insurance payments.

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J. Dale Shoemaker was a reporter for PublicSource between 2017 and 2019.

Natasha is PublicSource's creative director. She runs the organizations visuals team, edits and produces interactive graphics, data visualizations and web packages for PublicSource. She manages the website...