Posts Tagged ‘Andy Matthews’

2011 Public Employee Salary Data Shows Nearly 1,000 Workers In The $200K Club

By Sean Whaley | 2:00 am April 4th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nearly 1,000 state and local government workers, many of them firefighters and police, make over $200,000 a year when all pay and benefits are counted, according to a 2011 pay analysis published today by the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

The number of public employees earning $200,000 or more could be even higher, but the conservative think tank said some government entities, including the cities of Reno and Henderson, the Washoe County School District and the state of Nevada, did not provide information on the cost of benefits.

A Nevada think tank has added 2011 public employee salary information to its website.

There were 932 public employees who hit the $200,000 mark in 2009, 1,174 in 2010 and 995 in the most recent data now available at Transparent Nevada.

The top salary spot in Nevada is held by William Zamboni with the Nevada System of Higher Education’s School of Medicine at $1.3 million in 2011, although much of his earnings are the result of income from his medical practice.

Las Vegas Police Department Assistant Sheriff Michael McClary earned nearly $545,000 in total compensation, according to the data provided to NPRI, while Chris Ault, football coach at the University of Nevada, Reno, earned $521,000.

Andy Matthews, president of NPRI, said that giving the public and policy makers access to the salary information helps ensure that critical data needed to make spending decisions is available for review by everyone.

Taxpayers can use the data to determine on their own if government officials are being responsible with public money, he said.

Despite claims that government budgets are already stretched thin, the salary data suggests otherwise, Matthews said.

“There are still a lot of instances of overspending, and abnormally high government salaries at various levels of government here in our state, and this at a time when so many of us in the private sector are hurting, and Nevada’s families and business owners and individuals are really struggling,” he said. “I think it’s really a reminder that we have a ways to go still in terms of reigning in excessive government spending.”

A lot of the high salaries are at the local government level. Examples include a Clark County fire captain who brought in more than $525,000 in total compensation in 2011 and a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, English professor who received more than $326,000 in total compensation.

There are 145 Las Vegas Police Department employees who earned more than $200,000 last year, and another 59 police and correction officers in North Las Vegas who exceeded $200,000 for the year.

A lot of the salaries need to be scrutinized, Matthews said.

“For example the base pay of the city clerk in North Las Vegas is more than $145,000,” he said. “Well, the base pay for Gov. Sandoval is just a little more than $143,000.”

Matthews said there is some good news in the 2011 data that suggests elected officials are responding to concerns about public salaries, particularly with firefighter salaries.

The number of firefighters earning more than $200,000 declined in 2011 compared to 2010, he said. For example, the number of Clark County fire fighters in that salary level came down from 199 in 2010 to 140 in 2011.

“I would say these numbers are still too high but at least represents some steps in the right direction,” Matthews said. “And I think that the fact that we at NPRI have started to publicize this information and make this known; I think that that certainly has played a role.”

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Audio clips:

NPRI President Andy Matthews says there is still evidence of excessive public salaries:

040512Matthews1 :23 excessive government spending.”

Matthews says the base pay of the North Las Vegas city clerk is higher than that for Gov. Brian Sandoval:

040412Matthews2 :12 more than $143,000.”

Matthews says there has been some improvement in reducing high salaries:

040412Matthews3 :16 played a role.”

 

 

Conservative Nevada Think Tank Publishes Sourcebook For Policymakers And Public

By Sean Whaley | 2:00 am March 1st, 2012

CARSON CITY – A conservative Nevada think tank today published a guide for policymakers and the public on issues ranging from the state spending to public education to tax policy.

The 88-page sourcebook, called “Solutions 2013” is a compilation of research and policy recommendations from the Nevada Policy Research Institute addressing 39 different subject areas.

The publication comes 11 months before the Nevada Legislature will convene in 2013 to consider a host of critical issues, and just as the 2012 election season gets officially under way with candidate filing set to begin Monday.

“This collection dispels many popular misconceptions about Nevada, while highlighting new approaches to policy making,” said NPRI President Andy Matthews in an introduction to the guide. “My hope is that, regardless of where your political sympathies may lie, you will consider these ideas on their merits.”

Geoffrey Lawrence, NPRI’s deputy policy director, said even those who disagree with the recommendations can use the data cited in the guide.

“I think this is valuable for everyone who is interested in public policy regardless of their particular political persuasions because there is a lot of objective data in there that you can draw your own conclusions from if you like,” he said. “I think one of the other values of it is that you can see that our conclusions are drawn straight from these objective data sources so they are not just things that we’re coming up with out of thin air.”

The organization weighs in on the potential of a Texas-style margin tax being imposed on Nevada businesses, which it says should be rejected. A coalition of education and labor groups is contemplating putting such a revenue generator on the state ballot, but no such proposal has been filed yet with the Secretary of State’s office.

“The business margin tax is a hybrid, combining negative features of both corporate‐income and gross‐receipts taxes,” the policy guide says. It quotes the Tax Foundation as saying, “the Texas ‘margin’ tax is really a badly designed corporate income tax.”

The NPRI guide says a margin tax would create a tax liability even for businesses that operate at a financial loss, meaning the tax also possesses the negative attributes of gross receipts taxation.

The organization also takes up the issue of a state-run lottery, an idea that gets attention from lawmakers virtually every legislative session. NPRI notes that such lotteries do not generate a lot of revenue and are not stable sources of income.

California lottery ticket. / Photo: Bdviets via Wikimedia Commons.

“As Price Waterhouse – the Nevada Legislature’s own tax consultant – has concluded, ‘A state‐run lottery fails every test of a “good” tax policy. In Nevada, gaming should be left to the private sector,’ ” the guide says.

NPRI weighs in on the issue of what, if anything, should be done about the current public employee retirement system. Gov. Brian Sandoval and some lawmakers have called for a change to the plan to make it a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan instead of the current “defined benefit” plan so that concerns of the potential long-term liabilities of the retirement plan can be addressed.

NPRI argues for a hybrid plan as adopted by the Utah Legislature to avoid the high upfront costs associated with a wholesale change to a defined contribution plan.

“Utah’s system was put in place with the enactment of Senate Bill 63 from Utah’s 2010 General Legislative Session, which should serve as a model to guide Nevadans,” the policy guide says.

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Audio clips:

Geoffrey Lawrence of NPRI says the Texas-style margin tax is a bad idea:

030112Lawrence1 :26 disadvantages to it.”

Lawrence says the NPRI policy guide has useful data regardless of a person’s political views:

030112Lawrence2 :29 of thin air.”