Are Senate Republicans holding the line?

Victor Joecks

Is watered-down PERS reform enticing enough for Senate Republicans?

The core meeting to finalize a tax plan for the coming two years was canceled this morning with neither side willing to give any more.

In addition to the ongoing battle over how much of the burden should be carried by sales tax versus the business tax, a separate meeting was still unable to resolve disagreement over changes to employee retirement and benefits.

Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, the top GOP negotiator over benefits changes, left the meeting at one point red faced and muttering under his breath.

Also in that mix are proposed changes to allow collective bargaining for state workers and a business plan to relax prevailing wage requirements on public construction projects.

With nothing to present, the 10 a.m. scheduled Senate Floor Session didn’t happen. Neither did the 11 a.m. Assembly Floor Session.

Hmmm. But wait. The Senate version of the Assembly’s watered-down PERS reform bill just dropped.

SB427 will slow the rate at which state workers earn their retirement, including police-fire employees, and make younger retirees work longer before they can leave with full retirement benefits. Changes would apply only to public workers hired after Jan. 1, 2010.

But it’s not a done deal.

Republicans still want more concessions in those two areas. But Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, agreed there is general agreement on the other provisions in the bill.

The changes the Republicans want are the same ones they want in the Assembly bill.

Over the next few days we’ll probably see more drama in Carson City than there will be at the box office all this summer. It’d be much more enjoyable to watch if it didn’t end with a secret, job killing, record billion dollar tax increase.