(Fred Weinberg) – Nevada State Controller Ron Knecht kept a campaign promise and collaborated with a group of Nevada Assembly members on an alternate budget to Governor Brian Sandoval’s non-starter.
If the Guv is smart—the jury is still out—he’ll say, “Thank you.”
You see, Knecht was bold enough to figure out that the major part of giving the state the spending increase the Governor thinks education should have, is NOT raising taxes but reforming our out-of-control Public Employee Retirement System.
For years and years, the state has operated a defined benefit plan while salaries have been jacked up to the point where a government employee now makes more on average than a private sector employee and his or her retirement automatically matches.
This results in firefighters in Clark County who make $168,000 a year and get pensions to match while private sector employees make much less and have defined contribution plans which are designed not to bankrupt the companies they work for.
This simply has to change.
The reward for changing, by Knecht’s reckoning, is about $169-million a year in money which would be freed up for education spending without a single dime of tax increases.
Who’s against it?
Well, the Democrats. And their friends in the public employee unions. Plus municipal, county and state employees in general. In fact, it will be the overpaid employees of places like Clark County who will feel the immediate change.
State employees, however, before they go completely nuts should note that the new budget eliminates furloughs and restores a cost of living increase.
Everybody will have to help contribute to the plans. And the benefits will be far less generous.
But, with every benefit paid, a cost is assessed and we’re just getting to the point where the old way of doing things no longer works because we can no longer afford it.
Until now, every pay increase—which automatically brought about pension increases—was justified by saying, “the taxpayers can afford it.”
So, you’re going to hear an explosion from the left, but it will be very insincere. Because the left can count, too. And they know there is very little life left in the old pension system.
Meanwhile, it’s going to be very hard for the Governor to say no to a plan which gives him essentially everything he asked for with no tax increases.
Unless, he’s really stupid. In which case, 15 members of the Assembly voting no on his plan may change his mind.
Mr. Weinberg is publisher of the Penny Press. Get to know more about him by visiting www.PennyPresslv.com.