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April 18, 2015

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State workers to say bye-bye to furloughs in July 2014

Updated Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | 12:45 p.m.

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Brian Sandoval

State employees will no longer have to take unpaid furlough days, starting in July 2014, Gov. Brian Sandoval said.

The governor’s original budget provided for decreasing furlough days from six to three per year for the next two years.

Now, Sandoval’s $12 million plan calls for three furlough days between July 1 and June 30, 2014, and no furlough days between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015.

That means state employees will work and collect pay for nine more days than they worked under the current two-year state budget.

“You and your fellow state employees have continuously done more with less while serving our fellow citizens with dignity and respect,” Sandoval said in an email to state employees yesterday. “I am pleased that we are able to recognize your service and sacrifice by eliminating furloughs completely beginning in (fiscal year) FY15.”

In addition to the $12 million to end furloughs by July 2014, Sandoval also announced on Monday that he plans to add $25 million to early education over the next two years, with $10 million for full-day kindergarten programs and $15 million for English language learner programs.

That money comes from lower-than-projected employee medical costs in the Distributive School Account, lower-than-projected Medicaid caseloads and a higher-than-projected federal Medicaid match.

Although the state’s Medicaid program is set to expand under federal health care provisions, the federal government plans to pay for the first few years of that expansion.

The federal government also increases the amount of money it gives to states for Medicaid, the health program for the poor and disabled, when the average income drops in a state.

Sandoval explained in his letter to state employees that he was able to eliminate furlough days via “cost efficiencies and reduced costs in services” that include reduced Medicaid caseloads, a higher-than-projected Medicaid match and a reduction in medical costs for state employees.

Lesley Henrie, a spokeswoman from the state’s budget office, said Nevada was able to renegotiate Medicaid administrative costs to get the federal government to pay more.

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  1. Furloughs and pay cuts to state employees were the worst idea ever to try and combat the state's bad economy. Pulling money out of the hands of people who live here and spend that money in local businesses, buy local groceries, buy local gas, etc. only prolonged the financial pain. Raising taxes on foreign corporations who take mining profits OUT of Nevada, on the other hand, would have made more sense.

  2. All in all, this is good news, and I'm thankful for any pay restoration, and particularly thankful to have been able to remain employed when so many good friends and others have lost jobs. What is not as well known, though, is between the furloughs, pay cuts, and exorbitant raise in rates of public health insurance, some state workers took upwards of a 9% cut (or more) in take-home pay over the past few years. The restoration of furlough days will amount to about 2.4% restored after 2015. It is better than things staying as is, but a long way off from the amount of cuts state workers took.

  3. While the furloughs were managed reasonably well it was an UNCONSCIONABLE CHOICE that State employees took the hits while CITY, COUNTY, SD employees continued at their EXCESSIVE COMPENSATION LEVELS. We simply must revise the calculations on the Sales and Use Tax proceeds that excessively fund local government--many local gov. employees do the same work as State employees but at much higher pay, MUCH HIGHER. Can we get SOMETHING GOING THIS SESSION and get ALL employees to pay half of their PERS contributions?? Can we REQUIRE LABOR CONTRACTS to include useable options when tax revenue is limited and/or needs change. It's absolutely stupid that we K-12, feed, cloth, medicate hundreds of thousands of illegal parents, students, anchor babies while American workers and seniors go hungry, without meds, without period. And, we're paying for the handouts.