Monday, June 6, 2011

As the 76th Session Closes...

(Btw, there's more at The Nevada View! Yes, I'm now there, too!)

We see the usual last-minute flurry of activity.

The Legislature has until 1 a.m. Tuesday to finish its business, unless Gov. Brian Sandoval calls a special session, which he has said he will not do.

Republicans, led by Sandoval, agreed to extend taxes passed in 2009 that were set to expire on June 30. In exchange, Democrats agreed to spending cuts for education and social services, and changes to policies like teacher tenure and collective bargaining.

The latter issue, which dictates how counties and cities bargain with public employee unions, threatened to unravel the budget compromise Sunday night. Republicans were unhappy with language they believed broke the general agreement the sides had struck. Specifically, they believed the agreement included a ban on supervisors bargaining collectively. It was so narrowly written that only a handful of city, county and school district employees would be banned, said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.

But Kieckhefer said Monday morning that a compromise had been reached about 3 a.m. this morning that would create a broader prohibition on supervisors collectively bargaining.

Oh, yes! Of course, our biggest problem right now is allowing public servants to bargain collectively. [Face, meet palm.]

So the budget is being wrapped up as we speak. In the mean time, bills addressing matters as diverse (or are they?) as HOAs, financial crises, Reno's bowling stadium and baseball team, and Lake Tahoe have one more chance of passage tonight. Fasten your seat belts, kids, we're in for one more VERY bumpy ride!

And then what? What happens when the 76th Session of The Nevada Legislature adjourns? Maybe the 77th Session won't have to be so unforgivingly, brutally banal? One can hope... And then, others can act.

Danny Thompson of the AFL-CIO and Bob Fulkerson of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, both said in the past two days that work goes on in preparing a tax ballot question of the 2012.

Fulkerson talked about the initiative being for a new broad-based business tax or a tax on mining. PLAN had given up on a service tax question since it would hit too many in the middle class. (Plus, it would get very complicated).

Thompson is leaning toward a business tax. Both, however, said that a petition drive for the ballot question on taxes is definitely coming.
“Clearly, you are never going to get anything done here (at Legislature),” Thompson said. “It’s impossible.”

As we talked about yesterday, our state can not afford any more inaction. However "messy" and "unpredictable" it may be, direct democracy may truly be the one real solution to avoid any more missed opportunities like this session's.

No comments:

Post a Comment