Outgoing Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak, defeated by Republican Joe Lombardo, is showering state employees with proposed raises prior to his exit from office. His generous budget proposal comes on the heels of an interim panel of state legislators who unanimously approved nearly $36 million in back pay for more than 14,800 state workers who were mandated to take 48 hours of furloughs during the earliest months of the pandemic.
An approximate 10% raise for State employees in the first year of the biennium, with an approximate 5% raise in the second year. The significant salary increase put forward by the Governor is intended to offset the 4% and 6% (public safety) PERS increases set to start next year.
— Governor Sisolak ARCHIVE (@GovSisolak) December 22, 2022
As reported in The Nevada Independent:
Gov. Steve Sisolak has designed a budget that proposes 10 percent raises for state employees in the coming fiscal year and 5 percent in the next, although his Republican successor, Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo, and the Legislature will be able to make their own changes to the proposal.
Sisolak is also proposing more than doubling the amount of money going to public schools, from about $3 billion last biennium to about $8.2 billion in the coming biennium, adding that “it may be possible for districts to offer a substantial increase in educator pay” with the revenue boost.
The outgoing Democratic governor announced highlights of the proposal on Thursday, less than two weeks before he leaves office. He said the significant proposed raises for state workers intend to offset 4 percent increases in employees’ retirement contributions, and 6 percent for public safety workers.
In essence, while tax payers voluntarily contribute a percentage of their income to their own retirement plans, they will now be forced to additionally cover state employees’ four and six percent contributions into perpetuity.
State workers have significantly benefited from a Democratic legislature and Sisolak’s unwavering support. In 2019, the Democratic majority passed SB 135, a historic bill granting 20,000 state workers the right to collectively bargain. The bill, which Sisolak signed, was the “largest expansion of collective bargaining rights for state workers anywhere in the U.S. in 16 years.”
In March of this year, state employees received a retroactive three percent cost of living adjustment and an additional three percent adjustment in 2023. As reported by NNBW:
The Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved agreements with collective bargaining units that will cost the state $26 million in added pay for several categories of state workers.
The workers are all represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
The agreements are with the labor, maintenance, custodial and institutional employees, the professional and other workers who provide health care and personal care services and Category III peace officers.
The agreements will provide those workers with 3 percent Cost of Living Adjustment’s retroactively for this fiscal year, costing $12.8 million, and a similar COLA for fiscal 2023 costing another $13.2 million — a total of $26 million.
In total, if Lombardo accepts this budget proposal, state workers will have received a 21 percent raise in just two years, and any contribution to their retirement fund will be covered by the tax payers who continue to struggle under the weight of inflation and Sisolak’s pandemic-related shutdowns and mandates which caused 30 percent unemployment and the permanent closure of approximately 100,000 small businesses.
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