(Annie Black) – The Economic Forum – a group of appointed financial analysts who decide how much money the governor and the Nevada Legislature can spend each year – met this week and set the next budget at around $8.5 billion.
That’s a drop of around $400 million from the current budget, but around $1.2 billion from what various state government agencies initially asked for.
Apparently, these government agencies missed the memo about the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic damage Gov. Steve Sisolak’s shutdown orders have caused, as noted by the Associated Press today…
“With the number of visitors down to levels not seen since 1993, concerts and conventions cancelled and hotel rooms sitting empty, Nevada has been among the hardest hit economically by the virus and restrictions put in place to contain it.”
In any event, we’re looking at a $400 million budget hole – and I suspect it’s only going to grow larger as the state continues in semi-shutdown mode at least through Christmas. Which means one of two things: Serious spending cuts or serious tax hikes.
Liberals in the state have already made their choice known…
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this morning that “a coalition of 60 organizations called on the governor to find ways to increase revenue for the state.”
“Increasing revenue rather than cutting programs and services will not only help Nevadans today,” the coalition of various unions and liberal groups wrote, “it will also help ensure our economy recovers as soon as possible and will set a stronger foundation to help guard us against future economic downturns.”
In addition, the Clark County teachers’ union has submitted to the Legislature a pair of tax hikes totaling around $1.3 billion dollars even as the union continues to oppose reopening our school classrooms.
Talk about adding insult to injury.
It would take 15 legislators in the Assembly to vote “no” to block the union’s proposals, thanks to the 2/3 super-majority needed to approve tax hikes.
So far, only Assemblyman Jim Wheeler and I have publicly announced our opposition. However, there are six other members of the Assembly who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
They are: Assembly members Richard McArthur, Jill Dickman, Andy Matthews, Lisa Krasner, Heidi Kasama and Robin Titus.
That would give us 8 of the 15 votes needed to make the teachers’ union’s tax hikes DOA (dead on arrival). I’ll let you know and keep you posted if/when other legislators make their position known.
Here’s the bottom line…
Nevada continues to lead the nation in unemployment – with the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) still unable to process thousands of unemployment claims dating back to last MARCH.
Many businesses have already gone out of business, with thousands teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. And tens of thousands of so-called “non-essential” jobs have been permanently lost.
Yet we’re supposed to raise taxes to protect non-essential government workers and programs from suffering the same pain as private sector workers and businesses?
I don’t think so. Do you?
COMING UP: On Monday I’ll be announcing the five “Bill Draft Requests” (BDR) that I’ll be submitting to the Legislature for consideration in the 2021 session. Have a great weekend!
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“If Democrats win in Georgia… in charge will be Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Speaker Pelosi, and AOC. And their ideas, in my opinion, are three gallons of crazy.” – Sen. John Kennedy
“Here is Sisolak’s problem. For months, he implied that the pandemic could be stopped if Nevadans gave up unprecedented amounts of freedom. He’s wielded that power over the objections of many, but the virus is spiraling out of control anyway.” – Columnist Victor Joecks
“When government becomes the parent, the people become the child.” – Author unknown
Annie Black is the Nevada State Assemblywoman representing District 19. You can get more information by visiting www.electannieblack.com