Updates

March 31, 2020
31 Mar 2020

Political Update – March 31, 2020

 

EDITORIAL: Labor transparency needed as local governments deal with financial pain

Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 29, 2020

The coronavirus economic shutdown is devastating local government budgets. That’s why transparency in collective bargaining negotiations is more important than ever.

It’s too early to know how much tax revenues will drop because of the forced closure of many businesses. Much will depend on how soon Gov. Steve Sisolak and health experts deem it’s safe for Nevadans to go back to work. In a best-case scenario, that recovery will happen quickly enough that the downturn doesn’t sink property values, which would decrease property tax revenues. Regardless, local governments will see a big hit from a decline in sales, gaming and room taxes.

That’s going to cause numerous problems throughout Southern Nevada. Just a few years ago, the Clark County School District’s reserve fund represented only a few hours of spending. Until the virus hit, the district had been slowly building up its reserve, but it’s still not large. Clark County’s fiscal position is stronger. Its budget this year included an ending fund balance of 9 percent, although that doesn’t account for the current drop in revenue.

Local governments spend the vast majority of their general funds on personnel costs. In the school district, it’s more than 80 percent. For the Metropolitan Police Department, it’s more than 85 percent. This means that when elected officials go looking for budget reductions, employee compensation must inevitably be considered. This is especially true if a falling stock market forces Nevada’s Public Employees’ Retirement System to hike contribution rates — again.

Absent a special session — which is almost a certainty — the school district will likely have difficulty fulfilling the contract it agreed to last year. Meanwhile, Clark County has several bargaining groups whose contracts end in June.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“Government alone can’t solve the coronavirus crisis. And it needs to get out of the way of the private companies that are rushing to become part of the solution.”

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

VICTOR JOECKS: How private-sector companies are saving America from coronavirus

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 28, 2020

Anyone who thinks the coronavirus outbreak shows the need for larger government hasn’t been paying attention.

Over the past few months, government agencies made mistake after mistake, which allowed the coronavirus to proliferate in the United States. Private companies — once unshackled from government regulations — are the ones swinging into action to produce desperately needed medical products.


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