Where do you cut when you've already cut so much?

It's a scenario that is not hard for many families to imagine: You've cut your budget several times to adjust for these difficult economic times, but you still can't seem to make ends meet (even though you're spending less than your neighbors). You've already cut out some of what in better times would have been considered basic family activities but which now seem like luxuries ... things like movies, eating out, lessons for the children.

Where do you turn? You can't cut your rent or mortgage payment. You have to eat, even though food costs more. You have to get to work, even though gas costs more. The cost for electricity and water is higher.

Do you cut your family's trips to the doctor or dentist? Do you hold off on fixing the roof? Do you give less to the church? Do you stop watering the lawn? Do you just accept that you're going to have to give up on saving money and plan on going deeper in debt?

That thought process isn't all that different from what the state and its individual agencies are going through. At the same time they're being told to make steep budget cuts, their basic costs " the ones they have no real control over " are rising dramatically.

That's part of the reason the Board of Regents, which was told to cut its general fund spending by 14 percent, ended up submitting a budget to the state nearly 10 percent larger than the one approved by the 2007 Legislature.

What are the answers for those agencies? It seems clear there aren't any good ones for the state, or for families, for that matter, beyond cutting more. For the state and the poorly conceived way its tax structure is set up, there's little short term prospect of higher revenues " either from new taxes or revenues from current taxes. There's just the continuing pressure of cutting more and more, and that's something even the Board of Regents will have to face.

We're truly in a time when what were once considered basic services are now luxuries.

This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board


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