Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why #NVLeg Should NOT Fall on CCSD's Sword

On Tuesday, Democrats kept control of both houses of the Legislature. So what does this mean? Shouldn't this be an opportunity to make some changes and work on real, long-term solutions to the state budget?

Some think not... Because CCSD screwed up its bond initiative.

In Clark County, it was the first time in at least 25 years that a school construction question was shot down — and it wasn’t even close. Voters pummelled the property tax increase 66 percent to 34 percent. Another question, which would have raised money for Henderson libraries, also was rejected. [...]

The state’s funding for schools is among the lowest in the nation and has been a constant source of tension for Democrats, moderate business leaders and their traditional allies in policy battles in Carson City.

The Clark County school construction vote “broke my heart,” said Billy Vassiliadis, the prominent political consultant who ran the school campaign this year pro bono, as he had other school construction bond measures in the past.

He said the campaign got off to a late start and struggled to raise money.

Polls showed it was “an uphill battle from Day One,” he said.

And what made it even more uphill was CCSD administrators aligning with NPRI on attacking teachers and their union. Because they were caught lying about district finances, it was difficult for voters of various stripes to trust CCSD administrators when they said they needed more money for school repairs. And because they failed to realize NPRI's true agenda of "starving the beast" of government and drowning public services in a "TEA filled bathtub", they were oddly caught by surprise when NPRI turned on CCSD bosses to attack the bond initiative.

So perhaps #NVLeg watchers in Carson City shouldn't put too much stock into the failure of these initiatives on Tuesday, and especially the spectacular failure of the CCSD bond initiative. After all if given a chance to vote on the kind of fairer progressive tax reform that The Education Initiative represents, they seem quite willing to pass that. And despite AFP's attacks on Democrats as "tax & spend LIB'RULZZZ!!!", they defied Ralston's odds and kept both houses of the Legislature.

So should Democrats be cautious when approaching the subject of tax reform next spring? Perhaps they should study the mistakes made by the likes of CCSD to avoid falling into that kind of political calamity. But with Nevada schools still as underfunded as ever and public infrastructure woefully lacking overall, now is not the time to give up on tax reform that makes sense for Nevada.

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