Carson City joins Nevada counties pressing to stop unfunded mandates | NevadaAppeal.com
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Carson City joins Nevada counties pressing to stop unfunded mandates

Jill Lufrano

Carson City Assemblyman Ron Knecht said he understands why the state’s counties, including Carson City, are pushing for lawmakers to stop imposing costly programs while leaving counties to pay the bill.

City supervisors voted unanimously Thursday to join the statewide campaign to place an advisory question on the Nov. 2 ballot, asking voters if the state constitution should be changed to prevent the state Legislature from passing unfunded mandates.

“I’m basically sympathetic to local governments on this problem,” Knecht said Friday. “Unfunded mandates allow (lawmakers) to say ‘I want everything in the candy store and I want you to pay for it and do the dirty work to make it happen.'”

Carson City joins several Nevada counties seeking to send the message to the 2005 Legislature.

Nevada Association of Counties, the group pushing for the vote, said the latest example is a 2003 law requiring counties to pay health-insurance subsidies for retired county employees, who are members of the state’s retirement plan. The state pays the subsidy for health insurance for its retired employees. The association says the Legislature is circumventing a 1993 unfunded mandate law with its new requirements.

Knecht, a Republican, said the insurance issue may need to be revisited in the next legislative session.

“The problem there, at one level, is that too many in the Legislature are trying to play Santa Claus, promising public employees everything,” Knecht said. “The tax-and-spend-and-regulate crowd like unfunded mandates because it allows them to posture for all good things without having to make the choices.”

Contact Jill Lufrano at jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.