Make the tough decisions, do the right thing

"We seized the moment, we made the tough decisions, we did the right thing."

So concluded Gov. Kenny Guinn's state of the state address Monday night to the 2003 Legislature, and so will his proposals be judged for the future of Nevada.

He laid down a challenge to Republicans and Democrats alike to share his vision of what Nevada can be, not to settle for the picture of Nevada usually seen on national charts -- near the bottom in most categories measuring the health and welfare of its residents.

It's a bold plan created by the governor -- $1.1 billion in tax increases, much of it to pay for schools and health care -- and one that does the job of setting the agenda for the Legislature.

"Now is the time for courage and a time for leadership," he said. "The popularity of my proposal is less important to me than the rightness of our course."

Those are important words from Guinn, because they call on legislators to rise above the politics of the moment to, as he put it, "fulfill our responsibility to hand to our children a better Nevada."

With such an ambitious proposal, Guinn has given the Legislature plenty to debate. Business taxes. Higher cigarette taxes. All-day kindergarten. Elimination of the Nevada Division of Investigation.

The list is a long one. We expect each to rise or fall on their merits. Nevada residents may have deeply divided feelings over many parts of the plan.

But they can all ask, at each point along the way through the 2003 session, lawmakers to keep in mind Guinn's rallying cry.

"We seized the moment, we made the tough decisions, we did the right thing."


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