Legislature Debates Cuts To Benefits, Overtime, Pay Increases For States Employees

CARSON CITY – State employees could face further pay increase suspensions as well as cuts to holiday pay under a bill proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

State employees would again face a pay freeze for the time the years they have worked with the state, as well as any potential merit pay. This is in addition to a proposed 5 percent salary cut.

The bill would also make changes to the benefits package for new hires, eliminating a severance provision worth five years of retirement benefits if an employee was laid off because of budget cuts. Instead, the employee would get six months of health benefits.

Representatives from the governor’s office testified that the proposals would put Nevada better in line with neighboring states.

They said new state employees earn a maximum of 104 hours and a minimum of 80 hours per year in paid sick leave among the states neighboring Nevada. In Nevada, new employees earn 120 hours per year in sick leave.

The governor’s proposal would reduce sick time for all employees more toward the Western state average of 98 hours per year.

“If you look at that as the high and low, Nevada was two days beyond the high of any of our neighboring states,” said Julia Teska from the state budget office.

The 5 percent salary reduction saves the state $379.7 million. The suspension of pay increases saves $212 million.

The state does account for paying out employees for accrued vacation and sick leave, so the budget office did not offer a direct savings number.

State employee unions lined up to testify against the bill in a legislative hearing this morning.

“This is another bill that seems to be attacking state employees,” said Vishnu Subramaniam, representing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

State employees would also earn reduced overtime pay for hours they work on holidays. Changing holiday overtime pay would save an estimated $2.7 million.

Now, all state employees get paid on holidays, and working on a holiday earns an employee pay at 1.5 times the normal hourly rate. Altogether, that means state employees now earn money at 2.5 times the normal rate for working on holidays.

This proposal would lop off 0.5 of that rate so that state employees would earn double time on holidays.

“The proposals that you’re making are not intended as a budget cut per se, but to equalize us with what the market says when you look at the marketplace,” said Randy Kirner, R-Reno.

Public sector union representatives said that the cuts disproportionately affect the working class. They said that the state continues to pay out six-figure salaries to contractors and high-level administrators while balancing the budget with reductions in benefits and pay for the rank and file.

“This is just something of greed,” said Kevin Ranft, also from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

A legislative committee took no immediate action on the bill, but legislators are expected to address the proposal again as part of the governor’s budget.

 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QL6VLWPUOGJGXFQIYKFVEKFSNI Mr. W

    I just have one word for Governor Sandoval… “GOOD.”

    The benefits State Employees receive are as outrageous as their pay scale. It is past time their pay and benefits were brought inline with employees in the private sector. Five paid sick days a year period. Let them buy a COBRA policy upon termination or layoff like the rest of us. This should first apply to the executives who have allowed the outrageous pay packages to be put in place, in the first place. And people wonder why Nevada is broke. It’s not rocket science people.

    Brian Sandoval is being overly generous in my opinion. I would fire them all and outsource State jobs to the private sector.

  • Anonymous

    The state could save more money if they cut benefits to welfare recipients. These people have one baby after another which the state pays for. It is not uncommon for a 30 yr old woman to have 6 kids, no income, free housing, free utilities, free medical and free food. They can’t afford one child let alone six (or more). Nevada should pay for one child. Period. The medical costs are astounding. This state cannot afford this. There is more money spent on welfare than anywhere else in the budget.

  • Brooksta

    Maybe you should have been smarter as a younger man and entered a field of work that gives you stability. Or is it that you simply didn’t have the ability to do that? Lot of sour grapes going on lately concerning the public sector. I don’t recall anyone persecuting the private sector earlier in this decade when they were making good money. Nobody demanded that they pay more of their share since times were good.

  • Ed48

    Are you suggesting forced abortions or mandatory sterilization?

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely Not! Accountability. If you can’t afford one what makes you think you can afford 6. Obviously, we the tax payers cannot afford them either.

  • deacon427

    Mr W. you arew correct it is not rockt science which begs the question “why haven’t you figured it out yet?”. The outrageous pay exists at the county level and city levels which by the way is where nearly 3/4 of the sale and use taxes go to. State workers have been doing more with less for a long time unlike the private sector and the counties. County workers on average make 20-30% more thant the their state counterparts do, and they get their retirement aove and beyond their pay, we at t the state must pay into our retirmement for ourselves. The rank and file workers of the state earn every dang dime they are paid. If you want to point fingers at the state then point to the contractors that the state hires at outlandish rates, then you might have something. You know that state workers and even county workers actually pay part of their own salaries? I don’t think private sector employees have such an “honor”, but I sure wish you did because then you might not be bellyaching so much about it. Couple of notes here. The tax system in Nevada is outdated and needs revamping and broadening. Service related businesses in Nevada have not been paying their fair share for a long, long, long time, because they have enjoyed an exemption that should have never been there. Mining and Gaming taxes are joke because they are way too low. Let Mining keep their deductions but change the rate to about 25% or loose the deductions and leave it at 5%. Gaming should have been 10% at least 4 years ago but their lobby is powerful and therefore they get away with murder. Small note here: Sandoval has not done a DARN thing yet. His plan is not a plan, it is however a real good theft plan. He is stealing from the counties, from the school districts and from the future. Wow, what a plan! NOT! Pushing programs down to the counties is a great idea! NOT! You will have to pay for the program somewhere unless you think the counties will just make it free. In my family when we lose some revenue we do make cuts yes, but we also look to replace that revenue by finding another job etc. The Gov can make some cuts, do some reform, but at the end of day he is also going to need additional revenue. The problem is our Governor is not smart enough to realize that fact. The Governor does not even understand his own plan so how in the heck can he sell it to anyone?

  • deacon427

    Two words – Illegal Immigration. The state pays out $100′s of millions each year for these illegals. Send them home! This would be a budget cut and then we would have a step in gaining some traction on the budget hole. Welfare programs are out of control too, but that is a bigger social problem and will take time and work to solve. Small note – The feds pay out $100′s of billions a year for illegals,. so what do you think would have happen if we sent illegals ho home?? Think about it.

  • hpeetiep

    So I am guessing that you had no chance at A State job huh. Not their fault that you make less money its yours… Im not sure why any other working American would applaud anothers salary getting cut. This post wouldnt be here if you had one of these jobs. Why does everyone always wish ill on another who has more??? Must be the Christian Values you were taught huh

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Warren-Anthony/100000736216869 Warren Anthony

    If your talent for guessing or your grey matter was gunpowder, you wouldn’t have enough to blow your nose. People like you just can’t understand the concept that there IS NO FREE LUNCH. You think people like yourself should be able to stand around all day with your thumbs up your collective azzes and make the big bucks. And why not retire after just 10 years with triple salary? Well idiot, who is going to pay for that? You and people like you have milked that pig dry. Cities are going belly-up and some states are too. If like you think, money grows on trees, you better get some illegals to harvest it for you, because from what I see, there isn’t any more.