Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Democratic Budget Plan Is Here

So now we're getting details of the long awaited Democratic budget plan.

According to an initial version of the presentation obtained by the Sun, the pair will argue that three months of budget hearings have proven the need to raise taxes to fund $220 million in new education reform programs, offset cuts to education and social services and replace Sandoval’s short-term funding strategies with a more stable tax structure.

The source who provided the presentation cautioned that Democratic leaders were still working on the details and would continue to refine the numbers throughout the rest of the week.

Oceguera and Horsford want funding to offset $403 million of Sandoval’s proposed cuts to K-12 education. They also will propose $220 million in new funding for a literacy program, an after-school remediation program and a pay-for-performance program.

Although joint money committees this week rejected Sandoval’s 5 percent pay cut for teachers and school employees, the presentation indicates they may eventually settle on a 2.5 percent pay cut.

Under the plan, higher education would take a 10 percent cut compared to the last biennium, but would see $123 million more in funding than Sandoval proposed.

Health and Human Services would see an additional $174 million in funding over that proposed by Sandoval.

Democrats also want to reject Sandoval’s plan to take $302 million in school district debt reserves and his proposal to borrow $192 million against future insurance premium tax revenue.

Democrats will argue the short-term funding options would open a significant budget hole for the next Legislature to deal with and result in continuing uncertainty about the future tax environment for businesses.

All in all, $1.5 billion in additional revenue will be generated and many deep cuts will continue to be applied. In other words, we have ourselves a very "sensible", "moderate" proposal that would make Bill Raggio and George H.W. Bush nod in approval. If PLAN's plan is the progressive approach and the Sandogibbons/NPRI/AFP plan is teabagger paradise, then this essentially fills the middle ground.

So why is this being treated like an unwelcome visit by polio? Is it "DOA"? Are legislators too craven to do any better? Is Sandoval too delusional to abandon the death march he wants to put us all on?

Again, why is it that Sandoval is being treated so seriously when he offers nothing but utter bullshit? Why is PLAN's budget proposal considered so "radical" when it incorporates tried and true fiscal policy that's already in place in most other states? How much longer will it take for Nevada to realize that if it's been this broke for so long, then it's long past due to fix it?

Let's see what Democratic legislative leaders say today...

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