On June 13, Governor State Sisolak signed a bill giving state employees the right to collective bargaining, but the Nevada Policy Research Institute says it may have put Nevada taxpayers on a trajectory that will increase the cost of government for state employees who work for agencies like the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“The price tag associated with this is something that really worried us,” said NPRI Communications Director Michael Schaus. “simply because we’re already straining our budgets.”
Local union leaders disagree. Harry Schiffman, president of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 4041 says it’s too soon to even know because a deal hasn’t even been negotiated yet, and safeguards are built-in to the law to keep raises in check.
“Even if they all agree to a deal, it’s still the governor,” said Schiffman, “the governor still has a say whether he agrees, or he wants to veto it or to change it, and also, it has to go back to the legislature.”
That’s something the NPRI says could be difficult to do because of the intense political pressure unions can exert on politicians, and eventually, the growing cost of state government could hit critical mass.
“The big concern is, sooner or later the income tax is going to be an issue that is going to be talked about simply because lawmakers are going to run out of existing revenue sources to keep on increasing our tap,” said Schaus.
Shiffman, however, says if a state income tax goes on the table in Nevada, collective bargaining won’t be the reason.