Good government isn’t a right-wing issue

Patrick Gibbons

*The world has not turned upside down.

At least some conservatives in southern Nevada will be shocked to see that the left-of-center Las Vegas Sun editorialized in favor of reining in government salaries and benefits last week.

The Sun editorial staff wrote,

How many private employers have anything close to these pay-and-benefits packages? Many union contracts require an annual wage increase, which has become a rarity in the past few years outside of government. And although many private employers have cut their match for retirement pay because of the recession, state law requires governments to pay at least half of their employees’ contribution to the state pension fund.

The bottom line is that if the state and local governments are to get a handle on their budget problems, they will have to address the level of pay-and-benefits packages for public employees and reduce costs. Otherwise the level of needed services will decline more as government budgets will unacceptably be eroded by payroll.

While some may be surprised to read these words in the Sun, what the editorial is saying is simply common sense. Controlling government expenditures and eliminating waste shouldn’t be a conservative, Republican or libertarian issue – it is an idea all Nevadans can support. Using taxpayer resources effectively allows the state to provide high-quality services at a low cost.