Education First should get voter support |

Education First should get voter support

Nevada Appeal editorial board

The first question on the statewide list of ballot initiatives also happens to be “Education First” and is deserving of a yes vote from Nevadans.

Question 1 is the brainchild of U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons, who proposed it as a way to head off part of the problem that created an impasse in the 2003 Legislature. Although Gibbons now serves in Congress, part of his legacy in the state is the two-thirds majority requirement to raise taxes.

As you’ll recall, the Nevada Supreme Court decided a provision in the Nevada Constitution mandating funding for education superceded the voters’ desire for a two-thirds majority to raise taxes. Never mind that there was plenty of money without a tax increase to fund education; political maneuvering had tied it to the larger budget bill.

The solution provided by Question 1 is to set the education budget first. Everything else comes after.

It’s a sensible approach, keeping with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the constitutional mandate and, we think, appropriate to most Nevadans’ priorities. We would have hoped Question 1 wouldn’t be necessary, but the 2003 legislative session proved it’s a good idea.

Education First doesn’t tie the hands of legislators, and it won’t necessarily lead to tax increases. It should help focus the budget debate.

Vote yes on Question 1.

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Two other statewide ballot issues, Questions 7 and 8, also should be approved by voters.

Question 7 removes “idiot or insane person” from language in the constitution and replaces it with the more legally accurate “mentally incompetent.”

Question 8 continues sales tax exemptions for items such as used cars, farm equipment and fine art.