(Victor Joecks/NPRI) – Another surprise takeaway from Tuesday’s Las Vegas Sun interview with Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford:
“There has to be some combination of spending reductions and revenue to balance the budget,” he said. “It should be almost a dollar-for-dollar equation.”
With the state facing an estimated $3 billion shortfall, Horsford, D-Las Vegas, proposed in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun that the state should cut programs or shift them along with their costs to local governments.
These spending reductions would total about $1.5 billion.
Ignore, for the moment, his call for spending cuts to be matched by a dollar-for-dollar tax hike — the liberal Democratic Senate majority leader just called for $1.5 billion in spending cuts. With a state budget of $6.4 billion after the special session, that means that the liberal Democratic Senate majority leader believes that Nevada’s budget should be about $4.9 billion in the next biennium. Amazingly, just like yesterday, when Horsford announced he now opposes creating a corporate income tax, he’s exactly right that Nevada needs a substantial reduction in spending (which would really just reverse Nevada’s 29 percent increase in inflation-adjusted, per-capita spending over the last 15 years).
The next time leftists attack advocates of limited government for wanting to cut government spending, please remind them that substantially cutting government spending is a bipartisan position.
The next time you read or hear a news story about Nevada’s “dire” budget situation, write a letter to the editor or e-mail the reporter and remind them there’s a bipartisan plan — cut spending by $1.5 billion.
If you’re a citizen or candidate defending your belief that Nevada’s budget situation can be resolved by reining in out-of-control spending, remember that there’s a bipartisan consensus supporting a budget of no more $5 billion.
Now, does Sen. Horsford really support reducing spending to $5 billion or, as it should be known, correcting Nevada’s 29 percent increase in inflation-adjusted, per capita spending over the last 15 years?
I hope so, but the cynical side of me is skeptical. Why? Because there’s been a fundamental dishonesty — due to confusion, ignorance or willful intent — in how the budget numbers have been cited and reported for the last six months and I suspect that many of the cuts Horsford envisions will be to spending that doesn’t exist.
But I’m more than happy for Sen. Horsford to prove me wrong and, regardless, citizens, candidates, media members and elected officials should hold Sen. Horsford to the standard he created for himself — a $5 billion budget in 2011 — and should remember that cutting spending by $1.5 billion is a bi-partisan position championed by Nevada’s own liberal Democratic Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford.