Room for compromise at Legislature

Welcome back, legislators. We think.

For all the wrangling and posturing from the Nevada Legislature since the waning hours of its regular session and its first special session, there seems to be some room for compromise that will finally get state government rolling again.

The problem is, it's going to involve opening up parts of the already-approved state budget for some trimming. We don't think that's a bad thing, although it involves some risks.

The difference, as lawmakers convene today for a second special session, appears to be down to about $160 million -- the gap between the $860 in additional spending approved by the Senate and Assembly, and the $700 million tax opponents are willing to accept.

From the point of view of voters and taxpayers, this is middle ground. We want to see state spending increases held to a minimum, and we certainly don't want to pay any more tax than is necessary.

The tactic of approving a budget before a revenue plan has been widely recognized as a big mistake. The fear is that, in reopening the budget, a whole new nest of issues will be disturbed.

So what? The alternative is to hold hostage the school budgets, which are already being used as pawns by both sides of the debate. Is there anything more important than funding the schools?

We're urging Republicans and Democrats, senators and Assembly members, Gov. Kenny Guinn's administrators and legislative leaders, to find ways to maneuver those numbers close enough to get winning votes on both a budget and a tax plan.

A two-year budget involves a lot of shooting in the breeze, anyway. There will be many adjustments made over the next two years, regardless of what legislators do in the next week or two. The goal now should be to bring a sensible closure to this session.


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