By Phillip Moyer, Nevada News Bureau: Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley spoke today about a number of issues concerning both Nevada and the nation, including immigration reform and Nevada’s projected budget shortfall.
On Nevada NewsMakers, Buckley talked about Arizona’s recent immigration law, which requires people in Arizona to carry proof of their immigration status or risk arrest. Republican Senate candidate Chad Christensen recently pushed for enacting a statute similar to the Arizona law, though Governor Gibbons has declined to call a special session that would be required to pass the statute.
Buckley characterized as the Arizona law as “misguided” and pointed to the economic consequences of backlash to the controversial law including many businesses and city governments boycotting the state and calls being made to shoot down Phoenix’s bid for the next Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Buckley called Christensen’s efforts “pandering” and said that such a law is not a serious option for Nevada.
“Are we really going to start racial profiling?” she asked. “People say, ‘oh, it’s just when people are caught committing a crime.’ So, you pull someone over for a traffic stop – you’re only going to ask for their papers if they look differently than you. That’s what’s really going to happen, and that’s just un-American, in my opinion.”
Senate Republicans in Washington, DC, Buckley said, have kept federal immigration reform from moving forward in the past, making her doubtful about whether the government will pass any reform despite Senator Harry Reid’s recent push to pass such legislation in August.
Buckley also expressed disappointment that no gubernatorial candidates have spoken much on the subject of how to address the state’s budget problems, as current funds will only pay for about 50 percent of the projected budget in 2011.
Buckley said that although it is too soon to know about the specific challenges that Nevada will face with regards to the budget, there needs to be discussion on how to overcome the challenges the state will face.
Buckley said she thinks that to help with the problem, the tax hikes introduced in the 2009 legislative session, which are scheduled to sunset in 2011, should be extended. The massive cuts required to balance the state budget, she said, would do serious damage to health care, education, and the prison system – three programs that make up 93 percent of the state’s spending.
“Do all these institutions have to do more with less? Yes. We’re in a recession,” she said. “But can we realistically cut our schools by 50 percent? No. None of the gubernatorial candidates are talking about it. All of their advisers say ‘that’s not how you get elected. Say “no new taxes,” pound on the table.’ It would be nice to have one of them start talking about solutions.”