Local government workers in Nevada earn 46 percent more than their private sector counterparts, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the median earnings for local government workers in Nevada were higher than their government peers in 45 other states.
Statewide, government salaries and benefits cost taxpayers about $10 billion last year, the Nevada Public Policy Institute (NPRI) says – totaling 80 percent of all tax revenue collected by every state and local government agency in Nevada.
“If Nevada’s government pay gap continues its upward growth, the resulting tax hikes necessary to sustain such excess may become too great to bear,” Robert Fellner, director of Policy at NPRI, said.
There are different ways to interpret the data, Fellner explained, and not all comparisons are equivalent.
When considering education, experience and other factors, the salaries of local government employees and private sector employees are nearly equivalent, Fellner said. However, when considering total compensation, local government employees fare better than their private sector counterparts.
According to the Census Bureau’s 2017 earnings estimates for the median full-time, year-round worker, the disparity between government and private sector employees in Nevada is the largest in the U.S. By this measure it is nearly six times greater than the 8 percent median state differential nationwide.
The median earnings for local government workers in Nevada in 2017 were $58,644; the median for their private sector employee counterparts was $40,259.
Nevada state government employees’ median income of $51,948 was nearly 13 percent less than that of local government employees, Fellner points out.
“Study results have found that Nevada government workers [both local and state] can make as much as 57 percent more than a private-sector worker in the same jobs thanks to the massively richer health and retirement benefits government workers receive,” Fellner says.