Silver linings hard to find in budget crisis | NevadaAppeal.com

Silver linings hard to find in budget crisis

We’re hopeful predictions of continued economic strife will be proven unfounded locally and on a grander scale, but the likelihood is the rebound may take some time in coming. After all, local revenues are largely dependent on people spending money on goods and services, and how many people do you know who haven’t cut back in those areas?

That once again calls into question the basis of the state’s tax system. The state is at the mercy of the success of gaming, and municipalities must hope people spend liberally, even if it means going into debt, at the expense of the common sense traditional values of saving money and getting by with less during hard times. It’s a boom-and-bust formula and it’s very likely the extent of this bust may exceed anything in the memories of most Nevada residents.

A likely sacrifice along the way will be implementation of programs intended to improve the state’s much-maligned educational system, not to mention a host of other needs including improvements to highways and social services programs.

If there’s a silver lining, it may be that, state and locally, most essential services haven’t seen extreme cuts thus far. And the city shows signs of recognizing the hard times we’re in and making adjustments that might not get a second thought during better times, whether it’s adjusting regulations for restaurants or accepting that residents might have to put up with a smelly sewer plant for the near future.

But future cuts on all levels won’t be so easy, a point emphasized by state agency directors on Tuesday, and it will take more than a stimulus check to change that.

• This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board.