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.


Quote of
the week



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.

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