Monday, May 23, 2011

Good News/Bad News: Budget Deal Near?

So let the (uglier) cutting begin...

Although negotiations are still ongoing, two Democratic leaders confirmed they have all but given up on convincing Republicans to back either a services or margin tax. The most they now hope to get from Republicans are enough votes to extend the 2009 tax increase in exchange for reforms to collective bargaining, employee benefits and construction defects.

Both sides said the negotiations on that point are going well—at least on the Assembly side. [...]

According to the contours of an emerging agreement, Democrats would be forced to cut their add backs by at least $250 million. That process will begin tomorrow.

The bad news: There will be brutal cuts... Cuts that will hamper our economic recovery and beat down many Nevada families who have already been kicked down by the recession.

The good news: At least the cuts won't be as brutal as what Sandogibbons wanted.


This really is one terrible situation. Even The RGJ acknowledges this.

For many, the impacts are immediate and obvious. There will be padlocks on the historic Nevada State Prison, for instance. Paychecks of state employees will be smaller.

The impact of others will take longer to become manifest -- until a taxpayer interacts with state government, for instance, and finds the office closed for furloughs or learns a program has been discontinued.

And then there will be cuts whose effects are less obvious but have are long-lasting and difficult to undo, even when the Nevada economy rebounds. [...]

[N]o one should be under the illusion that the cuts proposed in the state budget won't have consequences. Some, in fact, will have lasting consequences that will leave the state much worse off, and every Nevadan should understand that.

With the hobbling of our important higher educational institutions, it's becoming more difficult for Nevada to appeal to researchers, for federal funding, and to companies looking for an educated workforce. With the crippling of our health care system, it's becoming more difficult for Nevada to show seniors they want to retire here. And with the decay of the rest of our public infrastructure, people must wonder why anyone wants to live here.

So honestly, I don't know what to really think about this. Sure, it could have been worse... And frankly, it still may be if Sandoval tries to force a Senate stalemate. Still, it just feels like we're once again kicking the can down the road and hoping it won't be flying right into the face (yet again).

(By the way, if you want to help someone continuing the good fight regardless of Carson City political calculations, Progress Now really needs your help!)

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