In The News
In all of life, actions have both short-term and long-term consequences — and often those outcomes stand in stark contrast to each other.
Anyone who’s seen “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” knows the excitement that comes from watching ordinary Americans turn knowledge of trivia into riches. As great game show hosts do, Regis Philbin drew the attention of audiences by yelling out, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?!” and made the anxiety of contestants palpable to viewers as the want-to-be-wealthy moved closer and closer to the prize. Contrary to all the show’s hoopla, becoming a millionaire here in Nevada isn’t uncommon. It’s actually average — at least, if you’re a public-employee retiree.
We knew Nevada’s state and local government employees had generous pension benefits, but now a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute has done the calculations and found Nevada’s public pensions are the richest in the nation — $64,000 a year or more than $1.3 million in lifetime benefits. That doesn’t include public-safety workers, such firefighters and police, who can retire earlier and generally have higher salaries, especially in Nevada.
LAS VEGAS — Come November, the fate of Nevada business owners — big and small — will be in the hands of voters.
For family-owned businesses like Las Vegas Window Tinting, the stakes are high: the imposition of the margin tax would slap owners Frank and Lelia Friedlander with an additional $24,000 tax bill.
Do you know where your tax money is going? During Sunshine Week, professional and citizen journalists across the country are shining lights on national, state and local governments.
Across the country payments to retirees are strangling budgets. Pension obligations have figured prominently in the recent bankruptcy of Detroit and several other large municipal bankruptcies. According to the American Enterprise Institute’s Andrew Biggs, “public pensions pose roughly 10 times more risk to taxpayers and government budgets than in 1975.”
Local governments appear to have found a formula they believe will allow them to increase taxes, even while taxpayers face one of the worst economic environments in the country: take away services that citizens expect.
Even as the economy in the Silver State showed slow but marked improvement in 2013, the health of the Nevada Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) deteriorated. The official unfunded liability for the pension plan for retired state and local government workers increased 15% during PERS 2013 fiscal year.