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A Slow Uncomfortable Screw

Here it comes. The big 2009 Nevada tax hike is right around the corner. Legislators need only to put the finishing touches on their big con and then….whammo!! One of the final pieces of the set-up was put in place on Monday.

Recall that last January, Gov. Jim Gibbons proposed a roughly $6.2 billion general fund budget which included that huge $292 million room tax hike, along with a pay rollback of 6 percent for government employees…..all of whom got a pay hike of 4 percent less than a year ago; many of whom, factoring in “step” increases and local sweeteners, got more than double that.

Repeat: To get to a $6.2 billion budget, the governor included pay cuts of 6 percent for government employees.

Then the Economic Forum met last Friday and estimated that the government would take in roughly a billion dollars LESS over the next two years than what the governor estimated last January. And considering the additional revenue shortfall, the administration said last week that pay cuts would have to be higher, probably in the 11-16 percent range.

So what did the Legislature do on Monday?

Despite a revenue shortfall of about a billion MORE than what was predicted just 90 days ago, instead of increasing the pay cut…..the Legislature CUT the pay cut!

You read it right. Instead of cutting worker pay by even the paltry 6 percent proposed by the governor last January, the Legislature reduced that cut to just 4 percent – in essence adding back into the governor’s already unbalanced budget an additional $300 million in unfunded spending.

Oh, and you’re gonna LOVE how they’re doing it…..

By giving all of these government employees an extra unpaid DAY OFF each and every month for the next two years!

But wait; there’s more…..

As Anjeanette Damon wrote in her Inside Nevada Politics blog Monday afternoon, “the state will continue to pay retirement benefits on their full salary.”

Now come on. These people have GOT to be kidding, right?

If the government can operate by giving its entire workforce an additional unpaid vacation day each MONTH, then clearly we have a government workforce which is too big and includes “dead wood” employees who are non-essential – such as UNLV’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. Isn’t it time to start printing up some pink slips?

And why in the hell should suffering taxpayers continue to pay retirement benefits to government workers for work they won’t be doing? Who in the hell comes up with this stuff?

And of course, the big question: If we couldn’t balance the budget with 6 percent pay cuts, how in the hell can the Legislature balance it with 4 percent cuts?

Here’s how: A massive new tax hike.

On top of the two tax hikes the Legislature has already passed so far this session.

Folks, get ready for the Mother of All Tax Hikes. By adding additional money to the budget to fund non-essential government employees we don’t need, legislators are going to start telling us any day now that it is absolutely necessary to increase taxes.

Instead of taking the amount of money the Economic Forum says we’re going to have coming in….and then trimming spending to meet our income….the Legislature is increasing its spending first….and then telling taxpayers they have to cough up more dough to pay for it

Is it time to break out the pitchforks and torches yet?


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