Monday, October 6, 2014

The Grossest Love Story Ever Told

The way some media pundits tell this story, it's the greatest love story ever told. And perhaps it is for Carson City's top corporate lobbyists. In fact, we won't be surprised if they read this column by the fireplace tonight with a nice glass of vintage port paired with some luscious dark chocolate.

But for the rest of us, another column on the many wonders of Tesla's extra sweet sweetheart deal is just another reminder of all that's wrong with Carson City.

Down here in Southern Nevada, Clark County School District (CCSD) hit a new record high for enrollment last month. And up north, Washoe County School District (WCSD) is about to receive the rude awakening that Tesla isn't offering any kind of free lunch. Instead, the deal blew an immediate $195 million hole in the state budget and threatens to place an additional strain on state government by encouraging more demand for public infrastructure (such as schools, roads, and health care) without providing needed funding for it.

Boulder City High School and Rex Bell Elementary School are just two examples of our crumbling public infrastructure in this state. Kids attend these and other CCSD schools. And this is what they and staff must endure every school day.

When we take a closer look at the decaying state of our public infrastructure, the very foundation of our economy, "The Great Tesla Giveaway of 2014" makes less and less sense. How can we afford to subsidize a multi-billion dollar corporation while telling teachers and students we can't afford school repairs? How can we afford to continue shortchanging our roads, our health care programs, and our other basic community building blocks while we keep doling out corporate welfare hand over fist? It just doesn't make sense.

There's a reason why we had such a visceral reaction yesterday to the two Southern Nevada newspaper columns opposing The Education Initiative (TEI). They just don't make sense. They and their friends at the No on 3 campaign like to scream about impending doom & gloom every chance they get, yet they can't produce any tangible proof that TEI will hurt our economy. Instead, even their own studies have suggested that TEI will help Nevada's economy by providing our schools with the funding they've been going without for far too long.

It's been a time honored love story here in Nevada. The "bid'ness establishment" types have loved their legal tax evasion schemes and corporate welfare handouts. And why not? It's been a very sweet sweetheart deal for them.

But for the rest of us, we've been told for far too long to "do more with less". We've been told for far too long that "we can't afford" even basic fixes for our schools. We've been told "we can't afford" to take care of our own people while multi-billion dollar corporations continue laughing all the way to the "erotic gift shop" with gift cards that we essentially paid for.

This may be their "greatest love story ever told", but we the people have a chance to close this chapter of our state's history. And really, can we afford to keep buying them all that chocolate & wine?

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