Commentary by Chuck Muth: Time’s up: Pass the budget and go home!
In their infinite wisdom, Nevada voters approved a constitutional amendment which strictly limits the duration of our legislative sessions to 120 days. For the 2011 session, that means Monday, June 6.
Every legislator has known about this deadline since well before the start of the session. This was not a secret. It is not a surprise. If legislators can’t get their work done on time, they have no one to blame but themselves.
Make no mistake: There is no reason whatsoever for legislators not to finish up their work by June 6 and go home. And there is no excuse whatsoever for forcing Gov. Sandoval to call a special session to pass a balanced budget and keep the government open.
None … what … so … ever.
But if we do go into overtime, it’ll be no one’s fault but the two legislative Democrat leaders – Majority Leader Steven Horsford and Assembly Speaker John Oceguera – who have combined to completely mismanage the 2011 Legislature.
Both have known since the start of the session that the governor was not going to approve a budget that increased taxes. And both have known they didn’t have the votes in the state Senate to pass a tax hike, including an extension of the tax hikes from 2009 which are scheduled to sunset at the end of June.
But instead of accepting that reality, Democrats have engineered a series of legislative dog-and-pony shows featuring “human budgetary shields,” often children, in an effort to shame legislative Republicans into abandoning fiscal responsibility, and Gov. Sandoval into abandoning his campaign promise not to raise taxes.
It didn’t work.
Sure, some Republican “surrender monkeys” in the Assembly might vote with the Democrats to extend the sunsets, but the Senate remains rock solid in opposition. Which means no tax hike will even make it to the governor’s desk, let alone past it. And it’s time for Democrats to accept that reality.
Look, they gave growing-the-government-and-spending-money-it-doesn’t-have-in-the-middle-of-a-recession their best shot … and lost. Get over it. Pass the governor’s balanced budget and go home.
There’s no need for a special session. There’s no need to close the government down. Pass the budget and go home.
In 2012, hit the campaign trail and tell the voters, loudly and proudly, that if they elect or re-elect you, that you promise to raise their taxes $1.2 billion. And if the voters, knowing that you will raise their taxes $1.2 billion, elect you … well, then you’ll have a mandate to raise taxes by $1.2 billion.
But for now … you don’t. The voters didn’t elect you to raise taxes. They elected Brian Sandoval to not raise taxes. Accept it. Pass the budget. And go home.
• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach and publisher of NevadaNewsandViews.com. He may be reached at email@example.com.