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October 8, 2012 / jimnv

As Expected…The State Employee Tax Continues

The governor said publicly this weekend, that he will not undo the pay cuts imposed on state employees the past 4 years. He said helping state employees was not possible because revenue projections are weak and there have been an increase in service demands by the public. This clearly defines the state employee tax, a tax imposed on a small number of Nevadans, to pay for things others want. State employees will not get a salary restoration because that money is needed to balance the budget.

Holding off on restoring lost wages seems prudent until you realize he has not publicly offered a solution. He did not say,”I’ll fight for you, and will restore what I can. I will make sure every legislator understands your financial problems. You are important.” No, he is talking to his party faithful who still think state employees are to blame for all of our economic problems so it’s okay to impose a tax on them. This also means he believes the same thing.

Sandoval could have made an effort. He didn’t. Some sort of honest effort would have gone a long way to show respect and concern for state employees. He won’t because, he is not our friend. He is politically lazy and beholden to the mining and casino industries who gave him money to become their governor and now tell him what to do because they bought him. Realistically, Sandoval will impose additional salary cuts if the Economic Forum numbers are worse than expected.

As usual, he is taking the lazy and easy way. He should write a book called, “Governing by Dummies”.

Some will whine about the cost to restore salaries which might be $200 million to restore pay to 2008 levels and $72 million for longevity and merit increases. This is almost $272 million over the next two years. Big numbers? You bet. These numbers describe, in part, how much state employees must pay from their pockets. This is a tax no other Nevadan would accept.

$272 million is a lot of money and considering the economic multiplier effect the total loss to the Nevada economy is at least a half billion dollars. How many private sector jobs could have been created or saved if state employees had more disposable income? 

The state employee tax is politically convenient and punitive. Those who imposed it don’t understand the economics of it and how state employees salaries are mostly spent in their communities and therefore benefit Nevada. The state employee tax has made all Nevada communities economically weaker, especially the Reno-Carson and Las Vegas areas. 

The governor has no clue that state employee jobs are important. About 6 years ago there were about 21,000 state jobs and now there about 14,000. That has an impact. Yet, Sandoval ignores this. With seven thousand fewer state positions there are probably several thousand fewer private sector jobs. This is a simple cause and effect that cannot be denied.  This governor does not understand that the public sector is important for Nevada’s economic well-being. Sandoval’s inherent laziness and unwavering fealty to mining and casinos has made him an enemy to Nevada’s economy.

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  1. geek / Oct 25 2012 3:11 pm

    As an Information Technology professional working for the State of Nevada I’m simply just not going to stay around for another two years (or more?) of salary and benefit cuts, I can make way more income in the private sector, I thought that having a pension plan will be nice to have but under the current circumstances probably won’t be any pension plan for when I reach retirement.

    Many of my IT co-workers are thinking to quit the State and go to work for private companies too.

    The people that complains about overpaid State employes will have to pay more taxes to pay for outsourcing the State’s IT projects to expensive private companies that outsources jobs offshore, the computers don’t run by themselves.

    The State is already having serious problems to hire IT talent, and when the few ones still left quit the only solution will be to outsource to private companies at double or triple the cost.

    • Michael Jackson / Oct 26 2012 4:32 pm

      I am a computer geek since DOS 3.21 and have worked on thousands of computers from 1997 to 2009 as a side hobby. I am also an ex-state worker (laid off) and have a Comptia A+ Cert from 2009 (sic). I also was required to fix and repair computers and software problems since Day Four (and Day Four was a drag!) at the University Press while running the warehouse. I still laugh at the UPS Techician on the other end of a call in 2009 and his reaction that a warehouse worker was also the dept. IT person! (some of the IT techs at UNR they were very wary of including one that blew an apple monitor).

      1) The IT Industry has a HIGH rate of job losses. Since so many of those jobs can be automated, make sure you do a real good analysis of the markets before you make the jump. Make sure your certs are current and that you are getting more certs RIGHT NOW. Before I left the University Press in 2011, we had an author visit us who had two sons in the IT Indusrty. One lived in Florida and one in California. Both had been in the Industry for over 10 years, they were laid off, and they couldn’t find any work.
      AGE DISCRIMINATION IS REAL: I went to one computer job that I have the skills for but they were shocked to see me when I came for my interview. While I waited in a room across from their break room and watched everyone take their morning break, I realized something: There was no one over the age of 32-35 (guessing but a sure bet). If you’re older, I would forget it.
      2) It’s already planned to outsource your job. It’s only a matter of time.
      In 2011, 100 IT people were laid off from System Computing Services (60 from Las Vegas and 30 from Reno) with more lay offs in 2012 (which I don’t know if that has happened). One guy that ran the Windows 2008 servers said that he was a Professional and was sure his contract would only be extended for one more year (he’s been around for 30 years). He also said that he sure that UNR plans to outsource its IT division. Maybe plans have changed; we’ll see…..
      No one in any kind of high position gives a damn about cost. My dept. didn’t have the thousands to send 12 rigs filled with dead books to Chicago. UNR hires Heidi Gansert, ex-chief of staff for Gov. Sandoval, as $180,000-a-year special assistant. Why so HIGH of a salary when UNR is broke? Nobody cares about security. NSHE found out last year that their UNLV wireless was wide-open on campas for anyone to use. 5 years from now, it’ll still be that way. Top management gotta turn those 3 day work orders into a 6 month project (Job Security). The janitors have been told at UNR that, if the “team system” they just implemented doesn’t work, their jobs will be outsourced. Sandoval has outsourced Tourism to a New York-based company. Nobody cares. All of us is expendable.
      3) Taxpayers are fearful of losing their jobs. They have had their benefits and hours cuts harshly. Their homes are “underwater”. So they come home after work and sit down at their TV to watch State Workers march with their placid signs in Carson City, demanding for the benefits to be restore. That’s equal to shooting yourself in the foot to get rid of an itch. If Sandoval retores your benefits, consider it your funeral before the public. It’ll be used to bash you into the ground even more (perhaps that’s what Sandoval wants to happen?). Your own Union helps create this hatred of you for their own Political and Fiscal clout. This pushes you to join them at 1% of your base pay. And what has that gotten you? Nowhere. Not even your job is secure. The problem is that our top officals wants their pork (republicans likes their glazed and democrats likes their with sweet & sour sauce). State workers have become nothing more than political baggage and it’s impossible to trust anyone at this point.
      4) STAY PUT. Yes, your retirement is going up in smoke but at least you have a job. Forget about job security – those days are over. Taxpayers are suffering blow after blow as well. Why go for a private sector job, only to be told 5 months later that you are being laid off? I was taking one day a month off before I left. You’re taking one every two months?
      I would gladly take back my job with the cuts than be unemployed – minus the politics and drama. I took a badly managed warehouse in 1999 and made it effircent. The Press was losing thousands of dollars every inventory for several years near the end of June when I came on. Same product had several different locations instead of being at one location. Warehouse locations went from manually written on paper to an excel form to finally put on the publishing software on the server. I made sure all the contracts with the different authors through all the years were scanned and put into PDF form on the UNR server before I left. Without writing a resume, I am proud of my work and I have every copy of my performance reviews.
      But the job market is seriously bad and it is getting seriously worse. I am 54 year with two bad knees and a bad right hip which makes medimn to heavy lifting impossible. I used to run for exercise but I had to stop in 2008. I have chronic fatique and I have terrible lows. I have IBS/acid reflux that kicks in every 4 days regardless of the meds and it flares up badly when there’s alot of stress (like now) so a sitting-down job is quite a stretch. I also now have an ulcer that is killing me. I am not going in debt for a worthless degree; I have a hard time focusing my mind when I try to study any subject (and Chancellor Klaich did not represent me in any way as an employee; there’s no way he can represent me as a student). I will not go into massive debt for a worthless University Degree (like the Associate Degree I have from 1985 with Chancllor Klaich signature on it). I can’t get Social Security Disabilities since I made too much on unemployment. There’s no way I can compete with the younger crowd and it’s that crowd that businesses want. If You decide to jump off-board, you better have everything set in concret first. Nothing is worst than if you make a mistake and the economy takes a dive – Do you really want to risk it?
      ***To the person who owns this blog, I apologize for being too long but I tried my best with editing to keep this short. I am just a lazy, good-for-nothing, expendable ex-state worker. I don’t know what real hard work is. I’m not entitle to “worth” cause I don’t have a BA or Master degree (from the NSHE perspective) . I waste taxpayer’s air that they breathe while the Officals in Government and Universities (including Professionals) are such little darlings and deserve the high pay they get. To my fellow State Workers, I’m a traitor for what I say. I am the scum of both worlds. I say things that you don’t want to hear but you need to HEED. Everyone I know in the private sector have had cuts, too. For me, I have a year (maybe 18 months) of living on $800 a month before I am homeless, living on the streets. Thank You, Director Johanne O’Hare, for nothing. That is what you are good at. The way you treated me out the door after all my years of hard work was like giving me the middle finger.***

  2. mjackson / Oct 23 2012 7:08 pm

    State Employees have a lame union. They certainly don’t save jobs. Just asked any ex-state worker. You won’t find me on any picket line because of it. One union member in Reno spent a hour to a representative in Carson City on the difference between soft and hard money because they had no clue about it. A union that doesn’t train its people? One guy at UNR I knew was a member of the union for 18 years. When he needed the union, he said the employee representation was only interested in crawling up the asses of the University Officials instead of taking care of him as a member. he quit the union afterwards. With Danny Thompson friends with Chancellor Klaich, he could never represent me nor any state worker at the University. This is a BAD conflict-of-interest. That’s why I refuse to give 1% base pay that I would’ve lost with my job. Taxpayers will have to pay for my job being outsourced; no way that a small dept. had the thousands of dollars to ship 12 rigs containing books to Chicago plus all the other (and continuing) costs. Although I never saw a bill-of-lading, the public storage & moving employees did and they said it was a lot of money. Plus, as they got rid of two state employees, they gave a $17,423.71 increase to the marketing personal and gave her part-time assistant a Full-Time Professional Salary. What did the two state workers get? One finally got retirement but only one month before she was to be let go (she was eligible for 5 extra years added on for working 27 years). myself? Indeed.com.

    If you become an ex-state worker, get ready to feel abandon. Because you will be. I knew a lot of state workers that left because that’s how they felt. Get used to seeing your benefits continue to go down. Thanks for unemployment; wish you were all here (NOT!). [hey! no way I’m going to be like Governor Sandoval either!]

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