Cuts to state agencies a tough but proactive move |

Cuts to state agencies a tough but proactive move

If you had any thoughts that Nevada’s economy was rebounding, the governor’s orders that state agencies freeze hiring and plan to cut 5 percent from their budgets should be enough to set you straight.

Five percent is a huge number when you consider agency budgets had already been tightened, and it’s very likely that Nevada residents will notice the effect in service cuts. What specifically those cuts may be is something the agency directors are still figuring out for themselves.

Nevertheless, we give the governor credit for making the move, which is surely drawing plenty of criticism from the ranks of state agencies that he leads. It’s proactive, and sends a strong signal of what may be ahead. He was wise to exempt education and parole and probation from the cuts, but not his own office budget.

His order demonstrates the kind of fortitude that he’s likely to need during the next legislative session, which is already shaping up to look like an exercise in crisis management with the projected shortfalls.

Gov. Kenny Guinn had to make much the same decision early in his first term, but was wise to restore much of the funding when the economy improved.

That’s something Gov. Gibbons should take notice of, especially since there are signs that new casino development in Vegas could lift the economy out of the doldrums. State agencies are willing to sacrifice in hard times, but should also benefit from the good.