EDITORIAL: Health district layoffs

Speaking of local government cuts: The Southern Nevada Health District soon will lay off 50 to 60 employees.

According to the Review-Journal’s Annalise Porter, the health district’s 2015 budget runs a deficit of $4.6 million, so the agency will tap reserves to balance the spending plan, as it has for years. But the bill finally came due for property tax revenue declines brought about by the Great Recession, and as a result, the health district will cut up to $6 million through workforce reductions.

The health district might have had more options if not for its unionized workforce and pension obligations. Where private companies reduced and eliminated 401(k) matches to preserve jobs, local governments have no such flexibility. They can only pay ever more for existing workers, regardless of economic conditions, and release the ones they can’t afford. After all, they’ll never go out of business, regardless of whether public employees price themselves out of work.

Much like North Las Vegas (see editorial above), the health district needs to re-examine itself. Taxpayers can’t afford to subsidize government competition for the private sector. Outsource duplicative services to businesses.

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