Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 | 4:52 p.m.
CARSON CITY — Despite lavishing praise on the performance of state workers, Gov. Brian Sandoval won’t say whether his budget will include pay and benefit increases for 17,000 state employees.
State worker pay and benefits have been cut significantly in the state’s past two budget cycles.
“The budget is an ongoing process,” Sandoval said, adding that he would not reveal details until his State of the State message in January.
Restoration of pay and benefits was not included the list released by the state budget office Friday of special fiscal requests sought by state agencies.
Sandoval said this week he intends to expand Medicaid for low-income people in connection with the federal health care legislation. And he has disclosed that tax cuts for small business will be included in his budget.
Asked if he would put money where his mouth is in praising state workers, Sandoval would only say, “That’s one item that is being looked at.”
Aldo Vennetilli of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers, isn’t optimistic. “He’s (Sandoval) is going to put the screws to them.”
He said the pay and benefits of state workers have fallen 30 to 40 percent in the past several legislative sessions. And 1,600 positions in state government are being kept vacant.
Sandoval and the 2011 Legislature approved a 2.5 percent reduction in wages and six unpaid furlough days a year for state workers. Also eliminated were automatic pay increases for some employees and longevity pay.
The state Public Employees Retirement Board in November voted to increase by 1 percent the premium paid by state and local government workers to the pension program. The health insurance program that covers state workers has not asked for any increase in premiums.
In October, Sandoval he said he would try to reverse wage reductions and furloughs state workers have shouldered since 2009. But he said he never promised to restore lost benefits.