Friday, July 19, 2013

Same Old Story (No More?)

It happened again last month. The same old story unfolded in the Nevada Legislature as another clusterf*ck of a Franken-budget was passed. As usual, the social safety net was left tattered as the big corporate power players were allowed to get away with tax evasion paying hardly anything.

And you know what? It's not helping our economy. In 2010, Nevada scored near the bottom of CNBC's business friendly state ratings. Oh, yes. That's right. Those "wild eyed socialists" at CNBCwere appalled by Nevada's lack of public infrastructure.

Recently, CNBC released new business friendly state ratings. And Nevada still ranks near rock bottom. CSN history professor and Vegas Seven contributor Michael Green has something to say about this.

Our economy ranks last. The low-tax climate [Governor Brian] Sandoval [R-Denial] and others praise doesn’t exist in Massachusetts or New York, but their unemployment rate is lower and their ranking here is higher.

Further, Nevada is rock-bottom in education. Set aside us liberal-arts types—the ones who teach students to read, write and think so they can prepare for any job. Numerous business leaders have expressed displeasure with the Nevada System of Higher Education, including the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce. If we are as innovative and entrepreneurial as we claim—Sandoval isn’t the only guilty party here, and it’s his job to hawk Nevada—why haven’t we come up with ways to fix that area other than inviting in overpriced “educational reformers”—hello, former state superintendent James Guthrie and ex-Clark County School District superintendent Dwight Jones—to try to impose their will? While Sandoval praises Tony Hsieh and other innovators, how many of their high-tech corporations originated here, built by people who were educated here?

Also, Nevada ranks near the bottom in “quality of life.” That’s a broad term. But while the innovative and entrepreneurial want a good business climate, they also tend to like good schools, especially ones at the forefront of training others to be innovative and entrepreneurial. They might even want to go to parks, theaters and museums, and have access to the best possible medical care.

These areas bore the brunt of our budget cuts and tax phobia. It’s all of a piece. And the usual Nevada solution is for the Legislature to make believe it will study the problem, for the governor’s office to keep cutting and for state government to hire high-priced, out-of-state consultants to tell us what to do—the same kinds of out-of-state people we attack as carpetbaggers who tell us we’re bad. Just like CNBC did.

It’s the same old story. Our public infrastructure is constantly underfunded. Our people are constantly shortchanged. And this keeps happening because real tax reform is constantly avoided.

Why must we keep reliving it? Actually, we don't have to. The solution is fast approaching. We the People just need to be willing to do what the powers that be in Carson City have so far failed to do.

Are we ready to finally close the book on this sad, same old story?

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