Eugene Paslov: During crisis, Reid will help keep Nevada in play
For the Nevada Appeal
Nevada has lost population for the first time since 1920. Our state is struggling to stay economically viable; we are in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression. As a matter of fact, we did better during the Great Depression because our population was far smaller and we had the benefit of numerous public projects.
There are no easy solutions. The governor and the Legislature, businesses and our citizens may all have to make more sacrifices – everything from new taxes to spending cuts – while at the same time protecting core state government services that underpin a viable economy: K-12 schools, the university system and public safety.
We will have to look at innovations to attract new, high-tech industries (with high paying jobs) and we will have to be smart about developing a tax structure that is equitable and produces enough revenue to sustain the state in both good and bad times. We don’t have such a structure now.
I worry that we are reaching a tipping point beyond which government and business cannot recover. When business does not believe it can survive, it will go elsewhere. When government no longer becomes an attractive place to work because of low wages and reduced benefits, the most talented professionals will go elsewhere. In the international community this is called a “failed state.” What are we going to call it?
In my view we have not yet reached the tipping point. Nevada is a wonderful place to live and raise our children and grandchildren, but our policy makers must exercise leadership and a willingness to build on our strengths, to be bold about solving problems.
One of our major strengths is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He is a quintessential Nevada conservative, and I don’t always agree with his politics. But he’s a smart and effective legislator who holds the key to helping our state survive.
There will be no solution to the economic crisis without the help of the feds. Sen. Reid is in the best position to negotiate with the president and Congress to help us find solutions, including federal stimulus money to help overcome the current crisis.
• Dr. Eugene T. Paslov, former Nevada Superintendent of Schools, is a board member for Silver State Charter School.