Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nevada, Please Stop Making California's Same Mistakes

Oops, I guess all that "no tax" nonsense is coming back to bite us.

Nevada is one of nine states suffering from the same economic and political problems that have driven California to the “brink of insolvency,” according to a new report by the Pew Center for the States.

The Silver State’s exploding unemployment and foreclosure rates and expanding budget shortfalls, coupled with legal and political obstacles to fundamental tax reform, put it at greater risk of prolonged fiscal problems even as the nation’s economy shows signs of recovery, according to the report released Wednesday.

But of course, the usual suspects are already trying to claim otherwise.

A spokesman for Gov. Jim Gibbons, a sharply anti-tax Republican, said the two-thirds majority requirement and constitutional protections are a positive, not a challenge.

“The governor believes it should be difficult to raise taxes on people,” spokesman Dan Burns said. “If the Pew Center has a problem with that, the governor believes that is the Pew Center’s problem.”

Never mind the actual reality of this situation!

1. Nevada is already the cheapest state in the nation -- for the size of the state's economy, Nevada spends less on state government than any other state.

2. Nevada's tax structure is already one of the most regressive in the nation.

3. Nevada is one of only three states without a corporate income tax or a gross receipts tax on business (the other two being the mostly uninhabited pseudo states of Wyoming and South Dakota).

4. Probably in no small part because of 2 and 3, Nevada's budget shortfall was already the largest in the nation even before release of the latest numbers revealing that the state is more broke than earlier projected.

5. Taken all in all then, proportionally, Nevada will now be cutting more money than any other state from services that are already funded less than in any other state.

And Mr. Gleaner said all this during the first budget battle in May! Think of how much more f*cked up this state will be if we then have to start rolling back education or stop paving roads.

And again, for all the right-wing talk about how "we're turning into California", they don't realize that in many ways we already are!

Remember when I wrote this about California?

It looks like a budget deal may finally be made. Yes, yes, I know I've been saying that for a while. But now, it really looks like Arnold is caving on eliminating CalWORKS as Democrats cave on stopping cuts-only madness. While it could have been even worse, this will nonetheless take the cake as a horrendous "deal" that will cause massive pain in many people's lives.

Arnold looks to be getting his desired enrollment cap on Healthy Families, California's S-CHIP program. While other states are actually expanding health care coverage for children of working families, kids will be turned away from the doctors' offices and health clinics here. Oh, and it gets worse. Home health care services for disabled people will be gutted. State parks may be closed. More state workers will be fired.

And you know what makes this even worse? We'll be paying for these cuts long into the future. Remember that it costs more to care for sick people in the emergency room than at the health clinic. It costs more to turn away tourists and day-trippers from state parks than to keep the parks open. It costs more to throw troubled kids in jail than to prevent future crime with good education and after-school programs.

So all in all, "Arnold's Folly" will deeply hurt all of us. And really, this isn't just his folly. Karen Bass [California's Democratic Assembly Speaker] and Darrell Steinberg [California's Democratic Senate Leader] must also share the blame for not doing more to present a progressive alternative. The corporate establishment also shares the blame for refusing to pay their fair share of taxes while still expecting giveaway after giveaway after giveaway. And ultimately, we the people also share the blame for living in la-la land for far too long in expecting all the amenities in the world and refusing to think about paying for any of them.

Thanks to the many silly gimmicks, false accounting, and empty rhetoric in "The Age of Arnold", "The California Dream" now looks to be nothing more than an illusion. Will we ever see it again?

Substitute Jim Gibbons for Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Barbara Buckley and Steven Horsford for Karen Bass and Darell Steinberg, and we pretty much now have what's about to happen in Nevada if Gibbons gets his way. No really, think of what will happen if we have no social safety net, no health care, no after-school programs, no state parks, no paved roads... Basically the kind of nonexistent state government that Gibbons wants.

Speaking as a former Californian myself, let me tell you what the real problem is over there. It's the damned people who want everything but don't want to pay for anything! It's the broken state government where legislators can't "violate" draconian tax bans and surreal spending requirements. It's a continued state of suspended disbelief where a regressive tax structure is never enough to pay the bills but there's always a silly magic trick to use to try to thwart disaster for just another day.

“That’s the one hope I have that the prolonged recession will lead us to the most difficult political solution, but the very necessary one, which is to broaden the tax base,” Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said. “We’re to the point now where the budget situation is so bad we have to do something significant.”

So maybe Sheila Leslie isn't a total fool? Maybe she actually knows what she's talking about? Maybe we should be listening to her instead of this fool or this clown?

1 comment:

  1. The "Draconian Tax Ban" you refer to I assume is Prop 13. I don't understand how limiting tax increases on ones home to 3% per year is "Draconian?" We are talking about our biggest expense and investment in the most expensive state in the nation. If my $6000 tax bill jumps 10% a year for 3 years, how do you expect me to keep my house? Do the math for a second. It would be impossible to keep up with anything more than 3% on even a modest home.

    The problem in California is politicians who offer the world for re-election and let others pay the bill down the road. There is always a smoker or property owner who has a few more bucks, actual consequences be damned.

    As for Neveda's budget, you need to ask the guys YOU VOTED FOR why your state is spending millions for railroad museums and the Nevada Arts Council when 1 single teacher is being laid off? Ask why there really needs to be 3 state water agencies? Once the ample dollars at all levels of government currently receive are spent efficiently then you can ask for more. Until then... how many admins are there at the CCSD main office?

    Nevada Budget

    How can they squander the precious resources they have if there isn't enough? That is where your anger should lie...