(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – Government spending restraint, reform and accountability seem to be gaining new converts all the time, sometimes in unexpected places. We who have been preaching this for years welcome new members to the congregation from wherever they appear.
But like the football fan who just recently began sporting a Packers jersey after a year in Saints garb, government reform, too, has its bandwagon-jumpers and fair-weather fans. Some of them truly embrace reform while others do so to mask a far different agenda or simply to reap the political benefits that come with backing a winning team.
For years, pleas for spending restraint, accountability and reform in Nevada were ignored while the money poured in from a booming economy, and rushed out just as quickly. Now many of those who disregarded these appeals to reason are offering their own reform and accountability proposals, which barely scratch the surface of what is necessary. And in return for claiming to have finally seen the light they want to impose their destructive agenda of higher taxes and more intrusive government.
Despite having stifled past reform proposals and the inadequacy of the plans they are now promoting, they are expecting accolades, recognition and deference from those whom they brushed aside in the past. They are demanding special consideration for halfheartedly doing what they were already supposed to have been doing.
This is akin to the teenager who constantly misses curfew, is doing poorly in school and doesn’t do his chores suddenly offering to mow the lawn and clean his room – and expecting a doubling of his allowance for doing so. You don’t get extra credit for doing what you should have been doing all along.
We send our legislators to Carson City to keep spending and taxes low, to demand efficiency and effectiveness from government and to fix or scrap state agencies, departments and systems that perform poorly. That is an essential part of the job. Bonus points are not awarded for overdue and weak attempts.
(Michael Chamberlain is Executive Director of Nevada Business Coalition.)