Legislature worked hard during difficult session
For the Nevada Appeal
There are some who are fond of calling the Nevada Legislature lazy and ineffectual, especially when they make unpopular decisions. That’s not even close to being true.
The Nevada Legislature has gone through one of the most difficult sessions in its history. They’ve had to cut services, many of which impacted their constituents; they had to raise taxes, a decision immensely unpopular in Nevada. Certainly it has been a session that no one will quickly forget.
My wife is fond of quoting H.L. Mencken, “For every complex problem, there is a simple solution and it is … usually wrong.” This legislative session did indeed have many complex problems.
The governor and a bevy of anti-government radicals offered a simple solution – “cut spending” regardless of what it does to schools, the university, social services and the state’s infrastructure. That solution was wrong. The Legislature had to figure out how to preserve our state’s critical institutions. They did, and it wasn’t easy.
The Legislature sent the increased tax bills to Gov. Gibbons on Friday, May 22, just before the 5 p.m. deadline. He vetoed them on Friday, May 28. The Legislature overruled the final vetoes on June 1. Now those legislators who had the courage to oppose the “simple solution advocates” will be confronted with vicious attacks.
Several Northern Nevada legislators need to be hailed for their courage and willingness to put the people’s business ahead of political expediency. Some are Democratic Assemblywomen Bonnie Parnell, Sheila Leslie and Debbie Smith, and Assemblyman Bernie Anderson. They and their colleagues were outstanding.
Also critical to preserving key Nevada institutions were northern Republican senators William Raggio and Randolph Townsend, joined by Assemblyman John Carpenter. They worked tirelessly to forge a political compromise that would save our state’s critical services and help us back on the road to economic recovery.
Speaker Barbara Buckley, Senate Majority Leader Stephen Horsford and Finance chairman Bernice Mathews stayed focused to make a balanced budget a reality.
There were vicious attempts to stop responsible budget resolution – legislators were inundated with robo-calls, threatening, nasty direct phone calls, and personal charges of ethics violations. In the end, none of this worked. Courage prevailed. Fear dissipated.
We can be thankful when our democratic system works. No one is completely satisfied, but that is the outcome of a democratic process. Thanks to all those legislators, Republicans and Democrats, and the Nevada citizens who supported them and kept our institutions alive.
• Dr. Eugene T. Paslov, former Nevada Superintendent of Schools, is a board member for Silver State Charter School.