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EDITORIAL: ‘They’re gonna have to raise a lotta money’

The Senate Committee on Government Affairs held its first hearing Friday on Senate Bill 224, the unconscionable effort to keep confidential important details about public pension payouts. Meanwhile, financial guru Warren Buffet was offering a warning about soaring government retirement obligations.

“If I were relocating into some state that had a huge unfunded pension plan, I’m walking into liabilities,” Mr. Buffett told CNBC last week. “I say to myself, ‘Why do I wanna build a plant there that has to sit there for 30 or 40 years?’ Because I’ll be here for the life of the pension plan, and they will come after corporations, they’ll come after individuals. They just — they’re gonna have to raise a lotta money.”

Nevada is not Illinois, which is teetering toward bankruptcy thanks to soaring public pension costs stemming from the political clout of the state’s public-sector unions. But the Silver State’s pension liability sits somewhere between $12 billion and $50 billion, depending on who’s punching the calculator. Perhaps legislative Democrats should spend less time trying to keep taxpayers in the dark about how their money is being spent and more time working to reform the system in order to ensure Nevada remains attractive to the private-sector job creators who drive the economy.

Transitioning from a defined-benefit plan to a defined-contribution system would be a good start. On the other hand, sanctioning secrecy and undermining accountability, is, quite simply, dangerously irresponsible.

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