Archive for category: Political Update

April 23, 2019
23 Apr 2019

Political Update – April 23, 2019

 

Jamie Dimon’s Timely Warning 

A CEO finally speaks up to tell the truth about the shared misery of socialism.

Andy Kessler
The Wall Street Journal

April 21, 2019

Socialism is now woker than a two-for-one Che Guevara T-shirt sale, with Bernie Sanders leading the Democrats’ presidential primary polls and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dominating the party’s imagination. 

In a rare calling-out of this bogosity, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned shareholders this month that “socialism inevitably produces stagnation, corruption and often worse.” He was echoing Winston Churchill’s observation that socialism allows for “the equal sharing of misery.” Why is it only capable of generating misery?

Because under socialism, politics rather than productivity drives employment. Technological innovation is suppressed. Long ago, an Israeli explained to me that under socialism—Israel’s economic system until 1985—you would always hire two workers to do the job of one.

Of course, there is a spectrum of socialism. The textbook definition is government ownership of the means of production, as in the communist-run Soviet Union or Cuba, or the state-owned factories of China today. But socialism can also mean “owning” an industry by burying it in regulation (see education, Medicare, the overregulated auto industries and so on).

Socialists are modern-day Luddites, destroyers of technology to preserve jobs. Article 4 of the current postal-workers’ union (sweetheart) contract states that “any new job or jobs created by technological or mechanization changes shall be offered to present employees capable of being trained to perform the new or changed job.” It’s one reason, even with automation, we still have 500,000 postal workers when the right number is zero. Similarly, Detroit was slow to use robots. It’s only recently that United Auto Workers union contracts did away with job guarantees.

Workers at the Port of Oakland went on strike to protest the use of RFID tags on shipping containers because it would kill lucrative clipboard-toting jobs. Productivity be damned.

And that phantasmagoria, the Green New Deal? It’s a productivity pallbearer, with its federal job guarantees and a new mechanism to support those “unwilling to work.” Where do I sign up for that?

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“Socialism is about maximizing power, not maximizing profits. Government doesn’t make profits, has no incentive to show profits, wouldn’t know a profit if it hit it in the head. Inside government there are no markets or price mechanisms to act as a divining rod finding hidden productivity. Socialism handcuffs Adam Smith’s invisible hand.” Andy Kessler,
The Wall Street Journal 

EDITORIAL: Bad ideas abound in Carson City

Las Vegas Review-Journal

April 20, 2019

There are oodles of bad proposals still floating around Carson City, as lawmakers advance legislation through various deadlines. Some of the more destructive bills — allowing collective bargaining for state employees, gutting Read by 3 or throwing a shroud of secrecy over government pension payouts, for example — will continue to garner attention. But dozens of lower-profile measures would also be detrimental to the state and deserve to be euthanized.

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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April 16, 2019
16 Apr 2019

Political Update – April 16, 2019

 

Nevadans get low return on taxpayer investments, study finds 

Michael Carroll
Watchdog.org

April 10, 2019

Nevada ranked in the bottom 10 on a new national study that examined whether residents of individual states are getting a good return on their tax revenues in the form of decent public services.

The study titled “States with the Best & Worst Taxpayer ROI” by the website WalletHub found that Nevada ranked 43rd in the quality of its public services, which includes public education, health, public safety, economy, and infrastructure and pollution. And in terms of whether Nevadans are getting an adequate return on their investment of state and local tax funds, the Silver State ranked 45th, suggesting that taxpayer funds per capita are not providing a lot of bang for the buck compared to other states.

For some public policy experts, the results were not surprising.

“One of the key takeaways from this study is that the amount of taxes spent isn’t nearly as important as how that money is spent,” Michael Schaus, communications director of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, said in an email.

For too long, Nevada lawmakers have depended too much on government solutions instead of allowing the private sector to take a bigger role in helping to address societal issues, according to Schaus.

“Nevada lawmakers have long held the belief that, in many cases, government can do things better than the private sector,” he said. “From education to energy to economic development, Nevada taxpayers are constantly funding failed central planning boondoggles thought up by government insiders and lobbyists.”

Specifically, Schaus pointed to what he called the state’s abysmal public education system and the state’s reluctance to allow alternatives to traditional public school settings.

“At the end of the day, we should be reminded that the private sector – where individuals risk their own money on projects and ventures – is where there will be higher return on investment, precisely because there are no taxpayer-funded bailouts for wasteful spending or poor investments,” he said.

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“Nevada’s low taxpayer ROI is a direct result of the high taxes its residents pay, almost $4,000 per capita, without benefiting from quality government services.” Jill Gonzalez,
WalletHub Analyst 

Drive to $12 per hour: Minimum wage increase eyed by Nevada lawmakers

John Sadler
Las Vegas Sun

April 11, 2019

…Paul Moradkhan, vice president of government affairs for the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber conducted an internal survey that showed members said a minimum wage increase would hurt their business and could lead to reactions such as decreased hours for employees or increased costs for goods.

Laura Nowlan, executive director of the Nevada Hispanic Business Group, bemoaned the measure as further regulations on small businesses.

“We are, as small-business owners, the heartbeat of America, and so then as legislators making the decisions, you need to understand that if we are the heartbeat of America, the more regulations, fine and restrictions that you put out there for us, the harder it makes it for us to be able to help our economy,” she said.

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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April 9, 2019
09 Apr 2019

Political Update – April 9, 2019

EDITORIAL: Proposal could create PERS death spiral 

Las Vegas Review-Journal

April 6, 2019

Despite all the problems with its Public Employees’ Retirement System, Nevada has consistently done one thing right. It has re-evaluated and adjusted contribution rates every two years as needed. Unfortunately, that could be changing.

Assembly Bill 415, sponsored the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, would evaluate PERS contribution rates every six years instead of every two. That doesn’t sound like a big shift, but the implications would be far reaching.

PERS is a defined-benefit program. That means retirees receive their pensions based on a formula, not investment returns. Factors include years of service, highest salary over three years and cost-of-living adjustments. These pensions are supposed to be funded fully by employer and employee contributions and investment returns.

It hasn’t worked out that way. PERS doesn’t know how much it will need to pay out in future years, so it makes numerous assumptions about things such as mortality, inflation and investment returns. Making a small error today can lead to PERS not having enough money to cover future retirement payouts.

This matters because the government is backing these pensions. If PERS doesn’t have enough money saved, taxpayers are on the hook — and for far more than the original amount. That’s because money that should have been invested previously, but wasn’t, couldn’t generate income. Those returns are supposed to pay for 80 percent of pension costs.

Given this, it’s vital that pension contribution rates increase soon after the need is identified. PERS has a decadeslong record of underestimating how much it needs to fulfill its obligations. When PERS started in 1948, the total contribution rate was 5 percent on an employee’s first $400 in wages. Today, combined contribution rates are 28 percent for regular employees and 40.5 percent for police and fire employees. On July 1, those rates will increase to 29.25 percent and 42.5 percent, respectively.

That increase is going to cost government agencies more and decrease government employee pay. When politicians have to spend money on pensions, they have less money for more high-profile items, such as raises for teachers. Paying pension contributions is the fiscal equivalent of taking your medicine. No one likes to do it, but it’s better than the alternative.

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Quote of
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“This matters because the government is backing these pensions. If PERS doesn’t have enough money saved, taxpayers are on the hook — and for far more than the original amount.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal
April 6, 2019

Nevada eyes collective bargaining for state workers

Ryan Tarinelli
Associated Press
Nevada Appeal

April 4, 2019

For decades, enacting collective bargaining for state workers has remained an elusive goal of supportive Nevada lawmakers. But Democrats this session appear poised to make it a reality, with strong majorities in both legislative chambers and the first Democratic governor in two decades.

“It’s an inequality that needs to be corrected and it’s long overdue,” said Harry Schiffman, a worker advocate and electrician at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

A state Senate bill that would give certain state workers the right to collectively bargain will face its first legislative panel Thursday in Carson City.

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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April 2, 2019
02 Apr 2019

Political Update – April 2, 2019

 

Senate Democrats seek 150 percent pay hike 

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 26, 2019

A proposal to create annual legislative sessions would also increase lawmaker pay by 150 percent. Don’t expect supporters to highlight that part.

For decades, some Nevada politicians have tried to establish annual legislative sessions. The latest effort, Senate Joint Resolution 5, is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday afternoon. Nevada’s constitution limits the Legislature to a single 120-day regular session every two years. Nevada, Texas, Montana and North Dakota are the four states with biennial legislative sessions.

That’s not the only thing the constitution limits. It says politicians can receive pay for only the first 60 days of a regular session. They currently make around $150 a day. Over 60 days, that’s $9,000. They also collect $142 in per diem throughout the whole session. Most politicians have to pay for lodging in Carson City and travel expenses, which means they can’t just pocket that money. The combined total tops $26,000 for four months.

Most legislators don’t like working and not getting paid, which is understandable. But it’s politically dangerous to advocate paying yourself more.

Under the guise of creating annual session, SJR5 would do exactly that. The proposed constitutional amendment would create a 90-day legislative session each odd-numbered year and a 60-day session every even-numbered year. It would also eliminate the constitutional prohibition on paying legislators for more than 60 days during a regular session.

If passed, the Legislature would go from meeting 120 days to 150 days every two years. Politicians, however, would go from being paid for 60 days to 150 days every two years. That would be a 150 percent pay hike. It could be even more. The amendment says legislators shall receive compensation “at regular intervals determined by law.” As a constitutional amendment, SJR5 would have to pass the Legislature this session and in 2021. Voters would get the final say in 2022.

SJR5 isn’t a fringe effort, either. It’s sponsored by 10 of the 13 members of the Senate Democratic caucus. Many of those senators are in safe districts, but not all of them. Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, is a sponsor and up for election next year. It’s going to be hard to beat the sitting majority leader, but she’s handed her GOP opponent a potent political attack. She won by just 2 percentage points in 2016. Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop, D-Las Vegas, who won by 3 percent last year, is also a co-sponsor. Republicans should bring this issue up if she runs for re-election in 2022.

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“If legislators don’t want to work without pay, there’s already a solution available. Cut back on the number of bills each lawmaker can propose, finish the work in 60 days and adjourn.”

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 26, 2019

EDITORIAL: Rising pensions costs are crippling school districts

Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 31, 2019

Nevada isn’t the only state in which rising pension costs are pinching school district budgets.

California’s districts are struggling to deal with per-pupil pension costs that have doubled in just four years. That’s according to a new report by the nonprofit EdSource.

In 2013-14, California’s average pension contributions per student was $506. That shot up to $1,020 last year — and it’s heading higher. In 2014, the combined contribution rate for California school districts was 21.5 percent of teacher pay. Last year it was 33.8 percent. In 2022-23, it will have soared to 40 percent. As those numbers go up, the amount available for everything else goes down.

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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March 26, 2019
26 Mar 2019

Political Update – March 26, 2019

 

CCSD using taxpayer resources to promote teachers union’s agenda 

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 21, 2019

The Clark County School District has been using taxpayer resources to advance the political agenda of the teachers union.

The Clark County Education Association wants additional education funding. It has launched an online petition to pressure politicians in Carson City. That’s normal, even if there’s a decades-long record of more funding not increasing student achievement.

What shouldn’t be normal is the district promoting that effort. Yet, on at least two occasions, the district has done exactly that.

On Dec. 6, Kelly Carque, the assistant principal at Palo Verde High School, sent an email to every parent at the school. “If you would like to support efforts to provide additional funding to our schools, please visit the following website,” her email read. The website was CCEA’s petition for more funding.

Carque even attached CCEA’s talking points and demands. The district provided Carque’s email in response to a public records request.

Ironically, the district spent years in court arguing that the work emails of teachers weren’t public information. Yet, an assistant principal is able to spam the private emails of parents to push the district’s preferred political agenda.

This wasn’t a one-off event either. On Tuesday, Culley Elementary School had the union’s propaganda on its website. It linked to the union’s petition and told parents to RSVP for an upcoming union rally.

After I asked about it, the graphic promoting the union’s political advocacy disappeared.

“This content has been removed from the website,” Kirsten Searer, the district’s chief communications officer, emailed.

She refused to say how many district schools are using district resources to advertise for the union’s cause. She also declined to share whether the district plans to take any action to stop such behavior.

This is another instance in the district’s long pattern of leveraging its taxpayer resources to advocate for more funding.

In 2012, the school district wanted voters to approve a tax hike for school construction. Every School Board member had district employees send emails encouraging parents to support the measure. District lobbyist Joyce Haldeman authorized school district employees to pick up campaign literature. The toothless Nevada Commission on Ethics found they each committed violations, but the panel barely slapped their hands.

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“Through ethical means or not, the school district usually has been successful in increasing funding. If only it was as successful in increasing student achievement.”

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 21, 2019

Teachers union pushes dedicated funding source for salaries

April Corbin
Nevada Current

March 25, 2019

When Gov. Steve Sisolak promised educators a 3 percent raise during his state-of-the-state speech, some teachers couldn’t help but wonder: Would that money ever reach their paychecks? Or would the money be diverted elsewhere?

It’s happened before.

Teachers within Clark County School District are supposed to be able to look toward the salary schedule negotiated by their collective bargaining agent, Clark County Education Association. It lays out salary increases based off length of employment (“steps”) and levels of professional development (“columns”). Step increases equate to about a 2 percent raise. Column advancement results in larger raises but requires significantly more work, typically in the form of advanced degrees or professional development courses.

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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March 25, 2019
25 Mar 2019

Political Update – March 19, 2019

 

The prevailing wage is a rip off. Here are the numbers to prove it. 

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 12, 2019

CARSON CITY — For decades, fiscal watchdogs have contended that prevailing wage mandates increase infrastructure costs. Now Nevada governments are saying the same thing.

When a private company embarks upon a major capital project, it solicits bids. Its goal is to find someone who will meet its construction standards at the best price. It doesn’t care if a company uses fewer higher paid workers or more lower paid workers. It’s just interested in the bottom line.

Not so in government. Nevada government requires that the workers on most government construction projects receive union-wage rates, called the prevailing wage. A Nevada Policy Research Institute study found that those wage rates are around 45 percent higher than market rates.

This doesn’t make economic sense for taxpayers, which is why Republicans passed a bill during the 2015 session that modified Nevada’s prevailing wage law. They raised the threshold at which prevailing wage requirements were triggered for public projects from $100,000 to $250,000. They also allowed school districts and colleges to pay 90 percent of the prevailing wage. It would have been preferable for Republicans to have eliminated the prevailing wage altogether, but, alas, former Gov. Brian Sandoval should have done a lot of things differently.

Now Democrats are seeking to overturn even those minor reforms. Every Assembly Democrat is co-sponsoring Assembly Bill 136. It would lower the prevailing wage threshold from $250,000 to $100,000 and require schools, colleges and charter schools to pay the full prevailing wage. The bill came out of committee on Monday.

Requiring higher wages for construction projects increases costs. That’s obvious to anyone not receiving union campaign contributions. It’s also the conclusion of numerous government agencies that looked at how this would affect their budgets. The Clark County School District projects the changes will cost it $7.5 million a year. The Nevada System of Higher Education estimates an extra $9 million a year in expenses.

That’s just the cost of raising the prevailing wage from 90 percent to 100 percent. The NPRI study found the market wage rate is 69 percent of the prevailing wage rate. If it had been legal for the school district to pay the market wage rate, it would have had an extra $15 million a year to spend on construction. Nevada’s higher education institutions would have had an extra $18 million a year. Both numbers are compared to paying 90 percent of the prevailing wage, not the 100 percent Democrats prefer.

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To get a sense of just how inflated these [prevailing wage] mandated rates are, NPRI analyzed the 2017 prevailing wage rates for 14 job categories in Clark County, which accounted for more than half of all construction employment that year.

The prevailing wage ranged from 14 percent above the market wage for roofers, to a staggering 109 percent above the market wage for glaziers. On a weighted basis, the average Clark County prevailing wage was 56 percent greater than the market wage.

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute
March 11, 2019

Support for prevailing wage undermines Dem opposition to Opportunity Scholarships

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute

March 11, 2019

…Specifically, Assembly Democrats recently introduced AB 136, which schools estimate will cost them $25 million over the next biennium. If the fiscal note from NSHE is included, that amount rises to $43.5 million.

This added cost reflects AB 136’s increase in the so-called “prevailing wage” requirement, which mandates that union workers be paid significantly above-market rates when working on school construction projects.

To get a sense of just how inflated these mandated rates are, NPRI analyzed the 2017 prevailing wage rates for 14 job categories in Clark County, which accounted for more than half of all construction employment that year.

The prevailing wage ranged from 14 percent above the market wage for roofers, to a staggering 109 percent above the market wage for glaziers. On a weighted basis, the average Clark County prevailing wage was 56 percent greater than the market wage.

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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March 12, 2019
12 Mar 2019

Political Update – March 12, 2019

 

Two of the senators pushing PERS secrecy bill receive six-figure public pensions 

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

February 28, 2019

State Sens. David Parks and Joyce Woodhouse each receives a six-figure pension from the Public Employees’ Retirement System. Now, they’re co-sponsoring a bill to prevent you from finding out how much they and other retirees will collect going forward.

State law requires PERS to disclose retiree names, payouts and employment information such as years of service and last employer. You need these details to calculate the generosity of PERS payouts. This data is especially important because PERS says its unfunded liability is more than $13 billion. Using private-sector accounting, however, that number tops $40 billion. PERS is raising contribution rates this year to pay down that debt.

Sky-high payouts are a significant part of this problem. Rossi Ralenkotter, the disgraced former CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, retired last year. He’s now collecting a $284,000-a-year pension for life. Based on his salary history, it looks like he took a reduced pension to provide for a beneficiary in the case of his death.

Former Clark County School District superintendent Pat Skorkowsky retired last year with 30 years of service. His yearly pension is $238,000.

Former Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo earned $190,000 in base pay in 2017. His pension is worth $168,000 a year, which was more than 88 percent of his final year’s base pay. After “retiring” from government after just 27 years of service, he started working as vice president of security at Wynn Las Vegas.

David Noahr earned $157,000 in base pay working for the North Las Vegas police department in 2017. His yearly pension is now $177,000 a year, which is 113 percent of his last full year of base pay. Thomas Carroll retired as a chief deputy district attorney in 2018. His base pay was $161,000 in 2017. He now rakes in a yearly pension of $156,000, equivalent to 97 percent of his final salary.

Pension data comes from PERS via a public records request. PERS provided February 2019 payouts; yearly pensions are extrapolated from that. Salary data is from TransparentNevada.com.

This analysis reveals the generosity of PERS benefits, but it’s impossible to do without retiree names. Yet three state senators don’t want you to see this information.

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Quote of
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“Taxpayers, including PERS members themselves, serve as the ultimate backstop to the retirement system. They are the ones required to pay when there’s a shortfall, as they have been repeatedly over the last decade.”

Richard Karpel,
Executive Director of the Nevada Press Association,
to the Nevada Senate Committee on Government Affairs

Lawmakers again hear divisive proposal to keep public pension recipients’ names private

James DeHaven
Reno Gazette Journal

March 1, 2019

It could soon get a lot harder to find out who is receiving a public pension in Nevada.

A deeply divisive bill heard at the Legislature on Friday would make the names of retirees enrolled in the state-run Public Employees’ Retirement System confidential and exempt from public records requests.

Current state law requires PERS to disclose the type and amount of pension paid to retirees, as well as their name, last employer, years of service and years of retirement.  

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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March 6, 2019
06 Mar 2019

Political Update – March 5, 2019

 

Study: Nevada local government employees fare better than counterparts in 45 states 

Bethany Blankley
Watchdog.org

March 1, 2019

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.

*NEW*

Quote of
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“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,

NPRI Policy Director,
Watchdog.org
Mar 1, 2019

COMMENTARY: Collective bargaining for state government workers would bust the budget

Andrew G. Biggs
Special to the Review-Journal

March 2, 2019

In the coming days, the Legislature will consider whether to allow Nevada’s state government employees to collectively bargain. Right on time, the union-affiliated Economic Policy Institute has produced research purporting to show that Nevada state workers are underpaid. But that research is incorrect.

Nevada’s state government employees receive salaries slightly below private-sector levels, but benefits that are massively more generous. For most state employees, total compensation almost surely exceeds what they would receive in private-sector jobs.

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 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.

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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.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser