At a joint session of the Nevada Senate and Assembly Higher Taxation Committees on Thursday, business leaders testified on how bad business is and how raising taxes on them in the middle of a recession would only make matters worse. At which point Assemblywoman Ellen Koivisto (D-AFL-CIO) whipped out the left’s well-worn talking points.
“Do you have a suggestion which university we should close?” she asked. “Which community college we should close? Which elementary, middle and high schools we should close because we have no money to keep them open?”
Republicans were quick to respond with a counter-argument.
Just kidding. I’m practicing for April Fools’ Day.
Republicans in the Legislature continue to revel in their minority party status, allowing one opportunity to present an alternative agenda after another to slide right on by.
Of course, Koivisto’s statement is mindless drivel. The budget approved in 2007 was around $6.8 billion. That’s not chicken feed, especially in a small state such as Nevada. And the governor’s 2009 proposed budget – which includes the Gibbons Tax Increase Initiative, the third largest tax hike in the state’s history – is $6.2 billion. Pretty hard to argue that Nevadans are providing “no money” to keep schools open.
Secondly, Koivisto questions are, at best, misleading. The governor’s proposed budget and tax hike doesn’t call for any schools anywhere to be closed. That said, there’s no reason not to close the Henderson State College – which was never needed and never should have been opened in the first place. And there’s no reason to keep funding the Dental School at UNLV, let alone the Culture of Pizza and History of the Beatles courses. And don’t even get me started on the UNR band.
And why does Ms. Koivisto think elementary schools should be closed before we first eliminate things such as the Department of Cultural Affairs, the antiquated and useless Equal Rights Commission, the Consumer Affairs Division, and maybe even the entire Department of Business & Industry?
Lastly, why shouldn’t some of those elementary, middle and high schools be closed? Why shouldn’t we reduce the overall cost of public education by giving all parents the incentive, through education tax rebates, to send their kids to a private school, or home-school, or one of the increasingly popular online virtual schools? We could improve the quality of education AND save money at the same time.
The Democrats’ rhetoric on these issues is so stale and well-known that Republicans could easily counter them at the drop of a hat. They just choose not to. Maybe they don’t even know they’re supposed to. Which explains why Republicans are still in the minority and Democrats continue to run the show.