Public employees not immune to budget travails
If Nevada, which was never considered to be a spendthrift on government programs anyhow, is already cutting deeper than any other state, and if some agency heads are warning they’re nearing the point where no more cutting is possible, where else is there to turn?
If you ask members of the SAGE Commission, it’s to changes in health and retirement benefits for public employees.
The Spending And Government Efficiency Commission says it could save the state about $300 million over the next five years if public employees contribute more toward their premiums, in line with what private industry employees pay.
It’s a reasonable proposal, but it will certainly create a hardship for many public employees. The change would also likely be felt in the local economy … money that’s spent paying insurance premiums won’t be spent downtown.
Nevertheless, everyone is adjusting their lives and spending to the new economy, and public employees should not be an exception.
We applaud the commission for looking closely at ways it might lessen the impact on lower-paid state workers. But there’s no way to hide the fact that unless state revenues increase dramatically, almost everyone will be reaching deeper into their pockets to make ends meet.