(Chuck Muth) – Although nowhere in the story do I see Sen. Bill Raggio actually using the phrase “anti-tax zealots,” that’s how the Associated Press characterized his view of those of us who want the government to shrink rather than tax revenues swell. In addition, the story reports that Sen. Raggio claimed on Nevada Newsmakers that there are people out there willing to pay higher taxes.
Really? Where are they? And what’s stopping them?
Seriously, there is an account set up where people can voluntarily contribute extra money to the state’s general fund. But I’m willing to bet none of the people Sen. Raggio was referring to have voluntarily coughed up any dough to help the state out in its time of need.
“Need,” being the operative word. Does the Nevada government really “need” more money? Sen. Raggio thinks so.
“I think a lot of people who say they don’t want any new revenues—and that we should keep cutting and cutting—don’t really have a handle on just how deep these cuts will affect individuals until maybe some hit their own family, whether it is a child with autism or a parent on a wait list for mental health services,” the Republican senator from Reno said.
Nice bit of bleeding heart rhetoric there. But is that the criteria by which we should judge budget cuts? If so, let’s go….
Gov. Jim Gibbons has proposed cutting the Equal Rights Commission. Democrat Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford has objected. Why? What child with autism will be harmed by eliminating this totally non-essential and racially divisive board? What parent will be denied mental health services if the Equal Rights Commission is disbanded?
Here’s another example….
If you break down on the freeway in Las Vegas a government truck comes around to help you get back on the road. But isn’t that what we have AAA for?
In addition, there used to be a service called “The Car Doctor” in the late 90s which performed the exact same service the Department of Transportation is now providing. But once the Nevada government created the competing “public option” for road service, the private service was forced out of business. It’s hard for private companies to compete with “free.”
Now, if we eliminate the road service service at DOT and let the private sector handle this again, as it should, how would that hurt children with autism? What parents will be denied mental health services if the government no longer provides tire changing services?
And on and on and on. In fact, I had a meeting with Kermit Waters, Nevada’s champion of citizen ballot initiatives, last night and he handed me a sheet listing all of Nevada’s state agencies and what they cost.
At first glance it sure appears there are a ton of non-essential government still in the budget which could be eliminated, trimmed or privatized for less money without hurting children with autism or forcing parents onto wait lists for mental health services. Let’s consider a few:
Buildings and grounds (hire private companies to provide this service, same as for road service)
Commodity Food Program
Merit Award Board
National Judicial College
National College of Juvenile and Family Justice
Commission on Tourism
State Printing Office (hello, Kinkos!)
Department of Information Technology
Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission
Commission on Economic Development
The entire Department of Education (let the counties handle this 100%)
Commission on Postsecondary Education
The entire Department of Cultural Affairs
Nevada Indian Commission
Director’s Office – Problem Gambling
Office of Minority Health
Business and Industry Administration
Safety Consultation and Training
Employee-Management Relations Board
Insurance Education and Research
National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Mobile Home Lot Rent Subsidy
Manufactured Housing Division
Office of Labor Commissioner
Nevada Athletic Commission
The entire Department of Agriculture
Trout Stamp Program
The entire Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation
Blind Business Enterprise Program
The entire Department of Motor Vehicles
Highway Safety Plan and Adminitration
Bicycle Safety Program
Motorcycle Safety Program
Gaming Control Board
And perhaps the most useless board in all of Nevada: the Commission on Ethics.
And while we’re at it, would someone please explain to me why brand new cars need to be smog-checked?
Now, some of these agencies and programs might provide a legitimate role in our state government somewhere, somehow. But if cutting them, trimming them or privatizing them doesn’t hurt any children with autism or put any parents on wait lists for mental health services, then it should be incumbent upon those agencies and programs to PROVE they are essential.
Finally, even in agencies providing legitimate and essential government programs – such as cops, firefighters, prisons, etc., – I’m betting if you take a red pen to their budgets you’ll find plenty of non-essential spending even there that could be excised without hurting one child with autism or putting even one parent on a waiting list for mental health services.
So it’s not that we can’t shrink the government a lot more. It’s that legislators don’t want to….and are hiding behind children and old people and the mentally ill to fool the public into believing they can’t.
Which is why it’s so important to take tax and fee hikes completely off the table. As long as legislators have the option of raising taxes on somebody, they’ll never get rid of non-essential government such as the Equal Rights Commission. So repeat after me: No…new…taxes. No…new…taxes. No…