Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So "The Benevolent Butcher" Doesn't Slash As Deep...

Surprise! Our budget deficit is a little less severe...

Nevada’s budget crisis became a bit less severe Monday with word that the general fund will be enriched by a previously unplanned $274 million, a bit of a windfall that will benefit the beleaguered education and health and human services budgets — and maybe undermine the argument for tax increases.

Business leaders meeting as the state’s Economic Forum ­­— the state’s official crystal-ball people on matters financial — projected a slow but steady uptick in the ailing economy. It won’t be great, they said, but it will be better than the dark days predicted in December, when Sandoval was putting together his budget.

Rejoice! We have an extra drop in the bucket. Our budget is "only" horrendous, and just a little less disastrous.

As always, Desert Beacon nails it.

Nevada has some $247 million more in general revenue than previously predicted [LVSun] ergo cuts to education and health programs won't be so onerous. This is supposed to be good news. This is also what happens to deficits when the economy perks up a bit; there is more revenue available -- a point which doesn't always seem to register with the Right. A deficit is not the exclusive result of profligate spending.  Deficits are commonly associated with downturns in economic activity, especially when revenues are tied to sales taxes, a regressive form of taxation linked firmly to consumer spending.

So, the good news is that revenue projections are increasing. The bad news is that the Assembled Wisdom is still far from recognizing that the cuts wouldn't be onerous at all if Nevada would modify its taxation system to require that Big Box Retailers pay their fair share. Small, independent, retailers are paying more at the moment so that the Big Box Retailers can pay less.  If Nevada would acknowledge that the mining industry is saying one thing to its shareholders and singing a far different tune in the hallways in Carson City.

Ain't that the truth!

Seriously, this is NOT the way to run a state! Only because we're slashing education and other state services to the bone instead of slashing them to the bone AND sucking out the marrow does not a sensible budget make.

Our kids deserve better. They deserve schools that can provide them with real opportunity, not schools that don't have to cut as many sports and music programs. They deserve colleges that prepare them to be great leaders and thinkers, not colleges that "only" have to cut 5 or 10 majors instead of 20. They deserve a Nevada that leads the way on creating a truly lean and green sustainable economic powerhouse, a Nevada that leads the way on renewable energy, green design, medical research, gaming technology, and more... Not a Nevada that will be a little less depressed and devastated a year from now than it is at present.

If Brian Sandoval doesn't "get it", then we must grasp it. If Sandoval doesn't cease and desist with the cheap political games being played with Nevada's future, then we must end these games. And if The Legislature is still afraid to take action to stop this madness and stop the petty argument over whether to cut to the bone or cut all the way into the marrow, then we have to make them act.

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