The immensely talented, Geoffrey Lawrence, of the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) has authored a truly remarkable set of policy recommendations in the just released Solutions 2013 handbook. Of the many diverse topics covered, one area that really struck me was on page 60, entitled, Double Dipping. My paraphrasing of their finding is as follows.
In 2001 Nevada passed a statute specifically designed to allow public-sector employees to receive pension payments without ever leaving their jobs. This was achieved via the creation of a "critical labor shortage" (CLS) classification, which allows public officials to collect pension benefits while remaining employed and receiving a full salary!
The CLS exemption was originally passed to alleviate a perceived shortage of teachers during the 2001-2003 biennium, but now is being rampantly abused. For instance, the first people using this exemption were not teachers but rather cabinet-level appointees such as Deputy Director of Public Safety, David Kieckbusch.
The day after this law was passed he retired to begin receiving pension benefits. Two days later he was re-hired and is now receiving pension benefits of 70k a year in addition to his salary of $103,301! The report goes on to document the many similar cases of rampant abuse of this exemption that goes on today, and rightfully proposes the solution of abolishing the CLS classification entirely.
Solutions 2013 contains much more on a variety of topics (39 in total, I believe) that can eliminate waste, reduce government spending, and consequently, promote a healthier Nevada economy in the process. None of which call for raising taxes! When you see all the common-sense, obvious solutions that could save our state millions of dollars that aren’t being implemented, it makes any policies that call for even higher taxes that much more infuriating!
As far as I can tell, the biggest obstacle to implementing these much needed policy changes is creating awareness about them. So be sure to check it out for yourselves, and if you would like a physical copy for free swing by the CCRP HQ or email me directly and I’ll be sure to get you one.