(Mark Noonan) – I see from a report in the Nevada News Bureau that Andrew Clinger, our State Budget Director, is happy as a clam. Seems that our tax revenues are going to come in $100 million more than expected for our biennial budget. Woohoo! We’re saved!
Or, are we?
Further in the report it is noted that while revenues are set to be more than expected, it looks as though Congress will fail to act in an expected manner and we’ll be out $88.5 million in supplementary Medicare funding, as well as $9.4 million in welfare funding. Adding the two together and we get $97 .9 million less than we budgeted for. If we do get that extra $100 million in revenues, it means we net ahead a mere $2.1 million.
And here’s the real kicker – we don’t know that we’ll really come out $100 million to the plus in revenues. We’ve actually collected $57 million more than expected and if we extrapolate out from what we’ve got we could get to $100 million more than budgeted but that is only if things improve in the economy.
You see an improving economy anywhere around you? Now that Obama’s stimulus plan is gone, the data from around the nation show the economy slowing down. Home sales have collapsed since the $8,000.00 tax credit expired, and without home sales we’ve also got less sales of big ticket items like televisions, washer/dryers and such. And so it goes around the economy and as things return to bad out in the rest of the nation, we’ll see even lower visitor totals for our gaming industry (and gaming tax revenue has come in, so far, $8.5 million less than expected). Bottom line, one can make a pretty safe bet that our revenues will not continue to improve and may get very much worse.
We’re in this fix because of one thing: too much government, period. When the crisis hit and the special session was called our politicians did not gather to fix the problem, but to merely kick the can down the road. It was the establishment getting together to ensure that the establishment survived the crisis. Because of this, nothing was solved, the problem was temporarily masked and now we’re heading right back in to it.
Government is the problem and until we fix that, we will just be spinning our wheels and bankrupting our children and grand children.
Do you know how many people work for the State of Nevada? As of December, 2009, about 25,000 full time and 10,000 part time employees. Here’s an oddity – the number of primary school full time employees: 7,900. The number of higher education full time employees: 7,700. Not everyone in primary school goes to college, so why do we have nearly as many higher education employees as we have primary education employees?
That is the sort of question which never gets asked at budget time – and, if it ever were asked, the establishment would resist answering the question.
But the questions must be asked, and must be answered.
Each employee of government, representing a bit of the sweat off a taxpayer’s hard working brow, must justify his existence. Every time we write a budget, we must go back to square one and determine if everyone on the payroll is really vital to the liberty and safety of the people of Nevada. Every cent of payroll and pension benefits must demonstrate that they are crucial to the success of our State. Each department and bureau and all actions taken must be shown to be absolutely necessary. And if any can’t measure up, to the chopping block they must go.
The budgetary process has been a system whereby politicians try to buy votes and government employees try to soak the tax payers for ever higher pay and benefits. But the budget isn’t for the politicians and it isn’t for the government employees. It is our budget – it belongs to we, the people of Nevada. And it must meet our needs, and our needs alone.
Until we get serious about taking charge of our government from top to bottom, we’ll continue to have this fiscal blind man’s bluff where the politicians and bureaucrats spend like drunken sailors when times are good and then conspire to screw the people when times are bad.
Get involved. Get out there and fight. Don’t be fooled by scare tactics. The establishment will always play the doom and gloom scenario when ever someone questions government spending. Don’t believe them. They’ve padded the budget with so much graft that we could probably cut it by 50% and still have everything done that we, the people really need done. It is our government, not theirs, and we must make them feel our power.