(Victor Joecks/NPRI) – Finally, finally, finally. After six months of distortions and factual inaccuracies, Nevada’s budget director Andrew Clinger has finally been clear, honest and upfront about Nevada’s budget situation. (Of course, if you watched 90 for 90 or read “The $3 billion deficit myth” you’d already know the truth).
In an interview on “Face to Face” yesterday (props to Ralston for citing NPRI and asking Clinger directly about the budget number), Clinger said this: “What you’re talking about and what NPRI is talking about is the current two-year budget when we look at general fund appropriations … So when you look at just the general fund appropriations we’re going from [$]6.4 [billion] to [$]8.2 [billion]. So we’re increasing appropriations $1.8 billion.”
What’s ironic about this exchange is that NPRI has never disagreed with Clinger’s numbers — in fact, Clinger is the source of our numbers!
What Clinger had not been making clear, and what we had objected to, was that the “$3 billion deficit” he talks so much about assumed a $1.8 billion increase in general fund appropriations, a.k.a. a $1. 8 billion spending increase.
I’m grateful that he clarified this and I hope that every reporter, politician and citizen in the state begins to fully understand and accurately frame this debate.
Win, lose or draw, this is a fair debate: Should Nevada increase spending by $1.8 billion (28 percent!), should we reduce spending by $1.5 billion as even liberal Sen. Majority Leader Steven Horsford has suggested, or should we do some combination of both?
If you or Sen. Horsford is looking for ideas on how to reduce spending, there are plenty available.