Chuck Muth: The depressing state of the state of Nevada
For the Nevada Appeal
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s State of the State address was a thoroughly uninspiring cookie-cutter speech that may as well have been phoned in to save everyone the time and trouble. For the state’s sake, let’s hope this “laundry list” speech was written by one or more overpaid political consultants and not the governor himself.
It included lots of pretty words and worn-out cliches. It included the requisite references to children. And yes, it singled out favored special interests – such as government employees, educators, seniors, the poor, minorities, blah, blah, blah.
What it didn’t include was any kind of vision or bold initiatives. For example, the governor wants to “assure that every Nevada child can read by grade three.” Heck, my homeschooled kids started reading at AGE three. So we’re not exactly setting the bar high here.
Instead, we heard about mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money for education and other new spending programs – but no universal school vouchers!
Instead, “some” low-income parents in the state’s worst public schools “might” get to exercise some school choice via a new “opportunity scholarship” program that’ll be contingent upon the generosity of Nevada’s business community which itself is barely keeping its head above water.
The speech was replete with sunny optimism, but little substance. For example, the governor declared: “My pledge to parents, students and educators is to always, always move ahead.”
Whoa! There’s a bold pledge, huh? As a parent, I know I’ll sleep better tonight.
The governor also proudly claimed that “the last two years have been a success story, not fully realized, but undeniably on track.”
If the last two years in Nevada have been a success story, I’d sure hate to see failure. We’re still a national leader in unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. To claim that Nevada’s recovery is simply not yet fully realized is to say that UNLV’s 2-11 football season was a success story, not fully realized.
Gov. Sandoval also declared that “Nevada’s employers cannot afford higher taxes and I will not support them.”
Then again, that’s the exact same thing he declared in 2011 … right before doubling the employee head tax on Nevada’s largest employers and doubling the fee/penalty business owners are forced to pay for the privilege of starting and running a business.
Why should any business owner take him at his word this time? It’s like Lucy telling Charlie Brown that, this time, she’ll really, really, really hold the football.
Bottom line: The Economic Forum last month gave Gov. Sandoval a $5.8 billion allowance. Gov. Sandoval is proposing to overspend $6.5 billion … including a ginormous expansion of Medicaid that we can’t afford, budget gimmicks and raiding the rainy day fund.
And not a single word on gun rights? What a depressing state of our state.
• Chuck Muth is president of CitizenOutreach.com and blogs at MuthsTruths.com