Our Opinion: Don’t politicize Nevada’s budget crisis; work together
Gov. Jim Gibbons didn’t tell Nevadans anything new in his State of the State address Monday night.
The Silver State has gone from boom to bust, and citizens in every part of the state are feeling the effects of the recession, either from reduced pay, layoffs, increased prices on goods or limited government services.
To borrow the cliche, it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.
Rather than trying to outline in detail the proposed budgetary cuts and his reduction plan, Gibbons shifted into campaign mode by attacking the Democratic Assembly and Senate and educators for creating our current dilemma.
With 13 percent unemployment and $881 million in the hole, this is not the time for the governor to slip into campaign mode and blame others. Instead, he should have told Nevadans Monday night that his staff and the Legislature need to roll up their sleeves, sit down together and work on this mess. This is a trait of a good leader.
Both sides should be able to present budget items and then work toward a common goal of rectifying the problem, including ideas to expand the tax base and require certain industries to pay their fair share of taxes.
Gibbons’ mantra of “No new taxes” may appeal to his base, but any ideas for enhancing revenue should be on the table, not off.
The governor wants a commission to study ways to bring new businesses to the state or encourage those already here to expand. Usually, the carrot is to waive or reduce taxes, but the state and local municipalities will not see the benefits for years if that occurs.
We’re fearful much public posturing from the governor and legislators will take place between now and the special session; we are skeptical that both sides will be able to find common ground.
For the sake of this state and its citizens, we hope we are wrong.
• A version of this editorial also appears in today’s Lahontan Valley News.