Municipal cuts

Faced with deepening economic stagnation, states, cities and government schools districts have dramatically improved their financial condition by trimming their payrolls, USA Today reported Friday.

In the past year, state and local government employment has been reduced, mostly through not filling vacancies, by 258,000, or 1.3 percent, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- even as the well-padded federal work force, astonishingly enough, grew 3.4 percent to 2.2 million.

Three-fourths of the state and local job cuts have occurred in states crippled by long legacies of over-spending: New Jersey, New York, California, Ohio and Michigan.

But -- while total local government employment is smaller in Nevada due to the state's smaller population -- Nevada is actually second in the percentage of local government jobs slashed at 2.9 percent reduction, trailing only New Jersey.

"The outlook is for more cuts," Donald Boyd, a finance expert at the Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, N.Y., tells the newspaper.

Meantime, responding to those who whine that workers and entrepreneurs will somehow suffer from the lack of government "services" as their local inspectors and enforcers are now forced to go find honest work, the Institute for Justice, a Virginia-based public-interest law firm, has just released a series of eight new reports revealing, "One of the principal obstacles to creating new jobs and entrepreneurial activity in cities across the country is the complex maze of regulations cities and states impose on small businesses."

IJ's "city studies" ( are filled with real-world examples of specific local restrictions that often make it impossible for entrepreneurs to create jobs.

Chip Mellor, president of the IJ, concludes, "If the nation is looking to the federal government to create jobs in America, it is looking in the wrong place. If we want to grow our economy, we must remove government-imposed barriers to honest enterprise at the city and state levels."

So slashing local government "tax-and-regulate" payrolls actually pays dividends in two ways: Once in the money saved, and then again in economic liberties restored.

You may proceed.


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