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PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM (PERS)
by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  November 11, 2004 - reprinted with permission

  GOVERNOR, HAVE THE BONDING HOUSES BEEN MADE AWARE OF THE BILLIONS OF SHORTFALL IN THE NEVADA EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND?

This seems like a weird subject to bring up but given the governor has money to spend (taxpayersí money) for impeaching State Controller Kathy Augustine and she is objecting, maybe he should look at the unfunded government employees retirement fund and call a special session to look at that little problem. Why is it important? It has a $3.6 billion dollar shortfall on a $16 billion dollar liability and growing. This is important when issuing a bond prospectus for all bond proposals in Nevada that such deficiency be noted in order that the bonds may be rated for their investment grade. As an example in San Diego, because they failed to disclose their shortfall of $1.15 billion in their pension fund and $1 billion in health care benefits to retirees they may be facing bankruptcy according to a story in the New York Times. Moodyís where are you when we need you?

Governor, if any borrowing agency in the state has overlooked the above in their bond prospectus it would seem we could have a real problem given how much borrowing has gone on at every level such as the state, Clark County, the Las Vegas Water Authority, the Clark County School District, the City of Las Vegas, City of Henderson and on and on. Where does it stop? It may be over sight but that would not excuse it from legal problems all the way to the federal government as is the case in San Diego. By the way, how many of we non government retirees, have pensions in the 90% range of our salary? Iím willing to bet no one other than those in the State of Nevada Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and we pay it 100%.

STOP THE SPECIAL SESSION ON KATHY AUGUSTINE.

Why waste the time and money to try to impeach Kathy and I say try because she seems to want to go kicking and screaming. Is it worth the cost or time? We have enough trouble now getting good people to run for the legislature and Governor these people need to make a living. Whatís it going to cost $30,000 per day and will it most likely not last months not days like between now and the first of the year?

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO CAPPING OUR REAL ESTATE TAXES?

We see that the price of homes keeps increasing and sounds great until you realize that paper gain is really going to be a major headache like taxing us out of our homes if you donít sell it or go six feet under. There is an interesting number in the state demographics which shows that in 2002 we had 76,472 newcomers and in 2003 we had 61,187 newcomers for a drop of -19.9%. Also important is the fact that the number of newcomer households went from 30,179 in 2002 to 20,959 in 2003 for a drop of -30.5%. What gives? Have we begun to see pricing people out of homes so the big rush to Vegas may be on the way down? If that takes place the end result could be California type inflated house prices with taxes as high as the sky making it impossible to live here. So where do we live, I donít have the answer? The problem I see is that no one in government seems to be slowing down their expansive thinking, so if they overdo it, we end up with more debt. I remember back at the end of the baby boom era that in spite of warning people they kept building schools like there was no tomorrow and we ended up with a quarter billion in debt and sold some new school buildings, that had never been used, for 50 cents on the dollar. Will it happen here? I would be willing to bet on it. To bad people are such empire builders. Speaking of Empire Builders, the Mayor of Las Vegas thinks we should spend millions for a new city hall as though money does grow on trees.

Oh yes before I forget it the Governor has promised he will see to it that the first order of business in the new session in February will be to sign into law a cap on our real-estate taxes. I think we were predicting something would come along and change his agenda concerning capping our taxes. And there it is in Kathy Augustine. GOVERNOR CAP ON OUR TAXES AT 6% OR CPI WHICHEVER IS LESS.

THE SHERIFF OUT FOXED US ON THE HALF PERCENT SALES TAX.

Too bad we got out voted on the sales tax for the sheriff. However it was not a great win and what we need to do now is to contact our state Legislatures and tell them the reasons we do not need another government bureaucracy getting their hands into our pockets forever with out any control by us. Remember now they set their budget and have it approved by Clark County and the City of Las Vegas and what they want to do is add another layer of taxpayer money that only they control.

THE NEW DUST VIOLATORS ARE THE LAS VEGAS WATER AUTHORITY.

With their $20,000,000 purse for subsidizing desert landscaping they have people all over the valley ripping out the sod, hauling it to who knows where and then hauling in more rock, plantings and sprinklers? In general they are making a dirty mess in the parking lots, the boulevards in every shopping center in the valley and more. I did make a complaint to the Air Quality department and finally they called me back to say that now the LVWA will issue with every desert landscape packet the permit requirement for jobs of a certain size. So if you see dirty messy reworks in desert landscaping around town, donít be afraid to call them at 385 3878, or the Department of Air Quality & Environmental Management 455 5942.

I find it interesting that we pay millions to these brains at the LVWA to do such things and it took Mulroy, the manager, 20 years in the job before she got around to doing desert landscaping to save water when yours truly did it in 1984 when we moved here from the Midwest. What ticks me off is that Mulroy should have thought of it that long ago if she was competent in her job. Now she brags about how great we are at saving water after being a fifth of a century late getting around to it. Also the newest brag is how she has negotiated a deal with California to buy our surplus water and return it to us when we need it. What a joke who ever heard of the 600 pound Gorilla giving anything back because they always need far more water than anyone else in the country and who are we with our paltry 5 votes in the United States Congress. Whatís disgusting is Mulroy has the quarter cent sales tax plus has raised our water rates to penalize us for using water no matter how small the amount is. We use about 6,000 gallons a month and even we must pay an overcharge. Oh well anything to take care of the bosses fat pension plan.

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