NPRI Fabricates Nevada Public Employee Unemployment

The so-called Nevada Policy Research Institute is the worst kind of AstroTurf research group there is. They regularly mislead the public with the most erroneous and argumentative drivel that one could possibly contrive. Their latest misinformation campaign claims that Nevada’s state workers unemployment rate “hits a staggering .21 percent.”

Fiction can be fun, but I much prefer the reference section. Let’s just examine the utter silliness of where they conjured this number from, and you will see that they have zero credibility.

The Las Vegas Sun reported that 37 employees of 17,000 were laid off on July 1, 2011, the very first day of the fiscal year. So NPRI is basing this .21 percent unemployment rate on one single day of layoffs.  That’s like me pointing to a day when 40 private sector employees were laid off and saying, gee what’s so bad about that?

First, this isn’t an unemployment rate by any stretch of the imagination. It certainly doesn’t account for all the state and local government employees that have been laid off, or who are out of work.  A few years ago there were 21,000 state employees.  Now there is 17,000.  That’s a 19% reduction.  Apparently this isn’t good enough for the likes of Ben Kieckhefer or NPRI.

Second, we have yet to hear from higher education or K-12 and others about their layoffs. Oh, there’s more to come.

It also completely ignores a slew of other vital facts key to understanding this discussion. But that never stops NPRI. Let’s go down the line of facts they omit, like the elimination of positions, not filling vacancies, pay cuts, benefits cuts and furlough days.

The budget office says the state will eliminate 665 positions over the next two years. That is an additional 4% on top of all the previous layoffs and position eliminations.

As Governor Sandoval’s office put it:

“Government provides an essential safety net,” said Dale Erquiaga, Gov. Brian Sandoval’s senior adviser. “It has to continue at a certain level. We’re different from a company selling goods no one can buy in a recession. Demand for government services goes up in a recession.”

So there are fewer employees, but more demand? Apparently NPRI can’t concede this point, and certainly doesn’t want the public know this.

Let’s also not forget that Nevada has the fewest public employees per capita in the nation. Even if employment numbers stay the same, demand will continue to go up, doubling the case loads for these state workers.

Most important, let’s not forget the thousands of students to whom we’ll be saying NO, YOU CAN’T GO TO COLLEGE. But that’s just liberal talk. Who cares about those deadbeat students who want to get an education? Lucky for us, they only cut 15% from higher education instead of the previous 30% proposal by the governor. His way of making a slap in the face feel better was to punch us to start with.

The key to all of this changing is for the people of Nevada to be informed. But NPRI’s mission is to make sure that doesn’t happen. They must be decried and called out as the frauds they are. Our community cannot afford to be misled by this Koch brothers funded propaganda any longer.

Justin McAffee
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