Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and legislative leaders reached an agreement Wednesday on a $6.2 billion general fund spending plan that preserves funding for education and critical human services while implementing collective bargaining and education reforms sought by Republicans.
The budget will include about $620 million in taxes that were scheduled to expire in July. Now, those taxes will be extended for another two years.
Yet the bill also includes a tax break for about 115,000 small businesses who will no longer have to pay a modified business tax.
Sandoval said the budget for the 2011-13 biennium is about $500 million less than the current two-year budget for state government.
Sandoval backed off his no-new-taxes mantra to allow the sunset taxes that were expected to be eliminated after last week's Nevada Supreme Court decision that barred the state from taking money from local accounts. Sandoval estimated that the decision could eventually cost more than $600 million.
OK, so what does this mean? Basically, deja vu... More of the same.
Yes, thankfully much needed public infrastructure like higher education and health care services won't be decimated. Instead, they will just be chronically underfunded as usual. It may not be a crisis, but we still have a serious problem that will (again) become a crisis if we don't do something about it.
So what do we do? Educate. Agitate. Activate.
We need to let Nevadans know that they don't have to endure this hogwash bullshit every two years. Yes, there really is a better way forward. Instead of racing to the bottom, Nevada can rise to the top. Instead of waiting and seeing if another casino gets built somewhere, we can take the lead in diversifying our economy and finding new opportunities for our people. It doesn't have to be like this again.
So perhaps the worst of the worst has been avoided, but that still means we have a long way to go to deliver the best possible state that our people deserve.