After this disastrous legislative session, Nevada Republicans need to do some serious house cleaning if they’re ever going to be taken seriously as fiscal conservatives again. And that means focusing on replacing some “bad” Republicans in GOP primaries next year before even thinking about going after Democrats.
And tops on the list of Republicans who need to go is Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea (R-Eureka).
Now here’s the thing about challenging moderate and liberal Republicans in primaries: You need to be strategic in doing so. Since majorities get to lead, the overall objective in the state Assembly is to get to 22 elected Republicans. Which means if you have a moderate Republican member who represents a Democrat-majority or maybe even a “swing” district…..you give them a pass.
What you DON’T do is give passes to moderate-to-liberal Republicans who represent large Republican-majority districts.
Like Pete Goicoechea.
Goicoechea is in one of the safest GOP Assembly districts in the entire state. So there is NO REASON for him to vote for tax hikes to get elected. But with Goicoechea, his liberalism goes well beyond tax hikes.
Goicoechea is the Assembly Minority Whip, which means he’s in the caucus leadership. He’s also on the powerful Assembly Ways & Means Committee and has been identified as a member of the elite “core group” of legislators who have been meeting in secret the entire session trying to hammer out a passable tax hike on small businesses and other living things.
But instead of tax hikes – or at the very least, in conjunction with them – many in the business community are insisting on reforms to the pay and benefits taxpayers are bestowing upon government workers.
The bi-partisan SAGE Commission took a look at government employee pay and benefits last year and found that while state workers were being paid comparably to what similar workers were being paid in the private sector, their benefits were way more generous. As such, SAGE recommended some serious reforms which Gov. Jim Gibbons adopted and included in his budget.
But when it came time for the “core group” to vote on those reforms, Goicoechea voted with the Democrats to keep these overly-generous benefit programs intact.
In looking at the pay and benefits for local government workers, SAGE discovered that not only were the benefits way out of whack compared to the private sector, but so was the pay. Indeed, not only is local government pay way above that of comparable private sector workers, but of state workers as well.
Why this huge discrepancy? Two words: Collective bargaining.
State workers don’t have collective bargaining, but local workers do. Which means to any fiscal conservative that the way back to fiscal sanity and responsibility is to take collectively bargaining away from local government workers. The dumbest, most fiscally irresponsible thing you could possibly do is extend collective bargaining to state workers.
“I support collective bargaining for state workers,” Goicoechea told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week.
Oh, for crying out loud.
There is no reason in the world for a Republican in Eureka County to support higher taxes, bigger government, and collective bargaining for government workers. None whatsoever. And until Republicans thin their herd of liberal Republicans representing conservative districts like Pete Goicoechea, they may as well forget about becoming the majority party anytime soon.
Let the primaries begin.