February 26, 2019
26 Feb 2019

Political Update – February 26, 2019

 

The political push for state-worker
collective bargaining 

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute

February 2019

Nevada Worker Type Earnings as % of private-sector earnings Rank among the 50 states
State Govt 129% 4
Local Govt 146% 1

Extending the ability to collectively bargain to Nevada state government workers will increase state spending by approximately $500 million annually — a price that will be paid by taxpayers via higher taxes, decreased government services or both. 

The argument put forward to justify this staggering increase in future spending is based on a false belief that state workers are underpaid. 

This paper shows that, when measured on a variety of metrics, compensation for Nevada state government workers is already significantly above market levels. Median earnings for Nevada state workers are 29 percent above private earnings — a gap that is the fourth largest nationwide. 

Average compensation for Nevada state workers ranked 10th highest nationwide on a raw, unadjusted basis, and fifth highest when accounting for the different price levels among the 50 states. 

A state-by-state ranking that compared compensation for state government workers against their similarly skilled and educated private-sector counterparts found Nevada government workers earned 29 percent more than their private-sector peers — a premium that was the ninth largest nationwide.

Finally, Nevada state government workers themselves demonstrate that current compensation levels are more than adequate via a voluntary quit rate that is just a tiny fraction of the overall quit rate of workers nationwide. 

Taken together, this evidence makes clear that compensation for state government workers is already well above market levels, and the additional cost associated with extending collective bargaining to state workers is an unnecessary burden on taxpayers. 

In spite of this, Nevada lawmakers are poised to extend collective bargaining to state government workers. While the added cost for such a policy is clearly deleterious from a social welfare perspective, it makes tremendous sense from a political perspective — as the concentrated support bestowed upon compliant politicians from what will become essentially a taxpayer-funded political action committee far outweighs any dispersed costs that they will face from the average taxpayer. 

This corrosion of the democratic process is precisely why collective bargaining for government workers has historically been opposed by economists, pro-union lawmakers and even labor unions themselves. 

Giving state workers the ability to collectively bargain will further corrupt the political process in Nevada at the expense of taxpayers and citizens.

*NEW*

Quote of
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This disparity is highlighted when government earnings are measured as a percentage of private-sector earnings.

At 29 percent more than private-sector median earnings, Nevada state workers had the 4th largest pay gap nationwide.

Mandatory collective bargaining for Nevada’s local government workers is performing exactly as intended. Median earnings for Nevada’s local government workers were 46 percent greater than private-sector earnings, a gap that was by far the largest nationwide.”

Robert Fellner,

NPRI Policy Director

By the numbers: Nevada ranks 8th best on property tax study

Nevada Watchdog

February 23, 2019

Nevada finished eighth in a new study by the Tax Foundation ranking which states have the most business-friendly property tax structures.

The state’s ranking remained unchanged from its 2018 score, according to the foundation’s analysis, which is part of a wider study titled “2019 State Business Tax Climate Index.”

All states and the District of Columbia have property tax systems. These taxes are a concern for businesses because often tax rates on commercial property exceed that of residential property, according to the Tax Foundation.

Keystone’s Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone’s Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor’s office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

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February 19, 2019
19 Feb 2019

Political Update – February 19, 2019





Democrats want new taxes without a two-thirds vote 

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

 

February 5, 2019

Some Nevada Democrats aren’t satisfied with having a Democratic governor and large legislative majorities. They also want to ignore the state constitution to make it easier to raise taxes.

In the mid-1990s, Nevadans overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment mandating that tax increases receive two-thirds approval from each legislative body. Alternatively, a simple majority of legislators can seek voter approval for a tax hike.

“An affirmative vote of not fewer than two-thirds of the members elected to each House is necessary to pass a bill or joint resolution which creates, generates or increases any public revenue in any form,” Nevada’s constitution states.

That’s all-encompassing and unambiguous, which is a problem for Gov. Steve Sisolak.

His budget, despite his claims to the contrary, contains a tax increase. Under current law, the modified business tax rate will decrease in July. But Sisolak wants to maintain the current rate in order to help fund his record-setting spending spree. While Democrats have a supermajority in the Assembly, they are one vote short of two-thirds control in the Senate.

That leaves Democrats two constitutional choices. Either cut a deal with Senate Republicans to get a vote or increase spending by 10 percent instead of 11 percent.

Democrat leaders, however, are considering a third option: ignoring the constitution.

Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson said recently he doesn’t believe extending a tax rate requires a two-thirds vote. Sisolak has hinted that he agrees. Their argument is that because the rate stays the same, it’s “not a new tax,” in the words of Atkinson.

But that line of reasoning falls apart once you look at what the constitution actually says.

To extend a tax rate, the Legislature must pass a bill. That bill will increase revenues, which is exactly why Sisolak wants the tax rate extended. The constitution requires a bill that “increases any public revenues in any form” to pass with a two-thirds vote in each house or receive voter approval.

*NEW*

 

 

Quote of
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"Politicians are happy to promise above-market compensation to government unions, as they do so with other people’s money. Moreover, politicians are keenly aware of the outsized role these organizations play in the election process, essentially operating as tax-funded political action committees.”

 

Robert Fellner,

NPRI Policy Director

 

Collective bargaining for state workers is about politics, not fairness

Nevada Policy Research Institute

February 13, 2019

Granting collective bargaining powers to Nevada state workers will increase annual spending by an estimated $500 million annually, a cost that will be passed onto taxpayers through higher taxes, reduced services or both.

The arguments most commonly used in support of Senate Bill 135, which is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Government Affairs Committee next Wednesday, is the false belief that state workers are underpaid.

Keystone's Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone's Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor's office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

To ensure that you continue receiving email updates,

please add Info@KeystoneNevada.com to your address book or safe list.
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February 12, 2019
12 Feb 2019

Political Update – February 12, 2019

Nevada Republicans say Sisolak tax renewal plan gives them leverage 

Bill Dentzer
Las Vegas Review-Journal

January 17, 2019

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak fleshed out his spending requests Thursday with the release of an $8.9 billion proposed budget that puts the cost of teacher raises, one of his signature proposals, at $180 million over two years.

While pledging no new taxes in his State of the State address Wednesday night, the Democrat is proposing retention of two taxes that were scheduled to be reduced or phased out at the end of fiscal year June 30. Keeping them would generate $138 million over the two-year budget period that will start July 1.

But Republican lawmakers said Thursday that such an extension is a new tax in everything but name and would require a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature. Democrats hold that supermajority in the 42-seat Assembly but are one vote short of it in the 21-member Senate.

“When a tax expires and you renew it, I think the N-E-W part of that means it’s new,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville. “Unless they can make some kind of deal with the Senate on that side, I believe it will fail.”

The state’s modified business tax was slated for a reduction June 30. Retaining it through June 2021 would generate $48 million a year. Similarly, Sisolak wants to keep a portion of the governmental services tax that was scheduled to sunset in June. The tax, paid by vehicle registration, is based on the vehicle’s value. Keeping the tax as is would generate an additional $21 million annually.

Quote of
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“It’s a new tax. They’re reauthorizing a new tax. If it was not a new tax, we wouldn’t need to vote on it.”

Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer,
LVRJ, January 17, 2019

Even the Federal Reserve finds problems with PERS

Victor Joecks

Las Vegas Review-Journal

February 7, 2019

The Federal Reserve recently examined Nevada’s pension system. The results are sobering.

It found that Nevada’s Public Employees’ Retirement System had an unfunded liability of $43.3 billion in 2016. For context, Gov. Steve Sisolak’s proposed two-year general fund budget is $9 billion.

PERS’ funding ratio, which compares assets with liabilities, was only 45.5 percent in 2016. In 2008, PERS’ funding ratio bottomed out at 41.4 percent. That’s not good. It gets even worse.

Keystone’s Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone’s Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor’s office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

To ensure that you continue receiving email updates,

please add Info@KeystoneNevada.com to your address book or safe list.
Click here to unsubscribe 
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