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OPINION: Everything’s on the table? Really?


By Chuck Muth

As you probably read or heard, Nevada Assembly Democrats rolled out their latest economic recovery plan recently which was short on . . . well, everything – including new ideas and specifics. But during the announcement dog-and-pony show, Assembly Speaker-in-Waiting Marcus Conklin had the following to say:

“From a revenue standpoint, everything needs to be on the table.”

This simple statement reveals exactly why getting anything of substance done in Carson City to fix the budget problem is such a problem – at least as long as tax-and-spend Democrat leaders such as Conklin control the Assembly agenda and individual Democrat legislators continue to vote in partisan lockstep fashion with those leaders.

Let’s start with the first part: “From a revenue standpoint . . . ”

From a REVENUE standpoint.

You see, that’s all Democrat leaders think about. The revenue side of the equation. They don’t think about the spending side . . . except to increase it. That’s their frame of reference: Make a Christmas list of all the wonderful programs and services they want the government to provide and THEN figure out whose taxes to raise to pay for them.

Conservatives, on the other hand, believe the best way to budget is to first figure out how much money the government has to spend and THEN figure out what to spend it on and how, setting priorities in the process. You know, the way a family on a fixed budget does it.

As for Conklin’s statement that “everything needs to be on the table” – apparently not.

For example, from the revenue side, is taxing and regulating marijuana on the table? Is legalizing and taxing gay marriage on the table? Is legalizing and taxing prostitution in all 17 counties on the table? Is opening Yucca Mountain – a potential gold mine of revenue for Nevada – on the table? Is repealing Nevada’s helmet law to boost revenue-generating tourism from motorcycle enthusiasts on the table?

No. So Assemblyman Conklin’s statement that everything’s on the table is false on its face. Pure political pabulum.

On the other hand, ways to save the state a boatload of revenue by, for example, eliminating labor union welfare programs such as prevailing wage and project labor agreements, aren’t on the table either. Nor is repeal of the law allowing public employee unions, which are bankrupting local municipalities and school districts.

As long as Democrats refuse to actually place everything on the table, Republicans should continue to take “revenue enhancements” OFF the table – including any further extension of that $620 million worth of “temporary” business tax hikes.

It was true when Reagan was president, and it’s true in Nevada today. Our state (and country) doesn’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem. Unfortunately, addressing that problem doesn’t appear to be on Marcus Conklin’s table.

Chuck Muth is president of CitizenOutreach.com and founder of CampaignDoctor.com. He blogs at MuthsTruths.com.

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