We hear the critics, but where are the leaders?

In light of all of the criticism of the governor's budget cuts, we believe strongly he should listen to the alternative proposals offered by legislators.

One problem ... we haven't heard any.

In fact, that din of outrage turns into silence when it comes time to talk about better ideas.

What we're hearing is the governor should not cut education, humans services and other critical areas of the budget. But what should he cut instead? What taxes should be raised?

From a political standpoint, who can blame legislators for their silence? Come election day, they'll be able to say they didn't support the governor's budget plan and they're shocked at the damage the cuts have done. What they won't be able to say is they provided the leadership to find other alternatives that preserved education and other important funding.

Some will say they told the governor to call for a special session to address the budget crisis, but it was a hollow request in that the governor made it clear that was about as likely as him inviting a New York Times reporter over for an after-dinner drink.

Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, tried to lead a revolt against the cuts, but he quickly found he had neither the statutory authority nor the support of any of his peers.

That silence has been shared by Republican legislators, who've understandably criticized little, but at the same time have been slow to support or offer opinions on the governor's proposals.

Hiding from the problem is not an option for Gov. Gibbons. He put an austere plan into action that could cause longterm damage to education and state programs Nevadans rely on.

It may be flawed, but it's a plan he believes is the best way to solve the state's crisis, and one for which he'll likely sustain permanent political damage.

Lacking any better examples on the subject, that sounds like leadership to us.

• This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board


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