(Gov. Jim Gibbons) – Well, the State of the State address is behind us. The situation we find ourselves in today is really our own fault.
The legislature unwisely passed tax increases and expanded government spending last year at a time when we should have been going the other way in Carson City. Now is the time for a course correction, but some in our State Capitol are fighting against prudent measures we must take now to meet our constitutional obligation to balance the state budget.
It is almost laughable how certain liberal legislators are squealing like infants at the thought of making a tough decision and shrinking state government. They prefer instead to place the burden of responsibility squarely on the backs of the people of Nevada instead of taking responsibility for their own poor choices. I believe we need to take another direction which fulfills our pledge to oppose new taxes and keep government spending at a minimum.
You have a budget at home, and you have to live within your means. It’s my intent to make certain the legislature does the same. How hard is that to understand? There are too many here in Carson City and many in the news media just don’t get it. Unlike President Obama, we can’t just print more money and solve our problems. We must cut spending now.
At the same time, I am saddened that some state employees will have to be laid off. Despite the disparaging remarks you see in the media about state employees, the vast majority of state workers are loyal public servants devoting their professional lives to serve you. We will keep as many as we can, but the last legislative session simply put too much of a burden on our businesses and citizens.
You are paying higher sales taxes, many of our key employers are paying higher payroll taxes, and we all are paying A LOT more at the DMV for our license plates. These higher taxes and fees caused many layoffs in the private sector. I vetoed higher taxes and fees, but the Democrats in the legislature overrode my veto and put a noose around the necks of Nevada’s working families. Disgraceful.
You all know that I have promised not to raise taxes as long as I am your Governor. I have kept that promise. I also promised not to stand in the way of the will of the people.
It’s funny how the certain media members like to say I raised taxes during the last legislative session because I included the room-tax hike in my proposed budget. This is the liberal media playing their deceptive game of lies. That room tax increase was approved by voters in Clark County and Washoe County. The media tend to ignore that fact.
If a tax hike is approved by voters or if users approve a higher fee, I will not stand in their way. But again, we must not raise taxes on you or on businesses just to transfer your money to government coffers. Like me, I know you cannot accept the arrogance of liberal legislators who think they know how to spend YOUR money better than YOU do!
You may have noticed recently that UNLV and UNR students marched to protest the recommendations reducing higher education budgets. Education is the intellectual infrastructure for Nevada’s future. But when every sector of public and private life is cutting back, higher education must do the same. They can do so by learning to live within their means and focusing their spending directly on the classroom where students obtain the skills needed for a successful career.
We need to put our attention instead toward the jobs being lost partly due to the increasing tax burden on employers. Look at the Ritz Carlton which just announced it will close down, laying off 300 workers. Take a look at Fitzgerald’s Hotel in downtown Reno, right by the Reno arch. Fitzgerald’s has been shut down for months and serves as a reminder to all of us that Nevada’s unemployment rate is the second highest in the nation.
Though we understand that the general downturn in the nation’s economy has an effect on our local economy here in Nevada, the Legislature cannot grow us out of this mess with ever expanding government. The time is now to reverse course and make the hard decisions to reduce government spending now.
Incidentally, for those like Rory Reid who have new taxes on their minds, like a business income tax, a new state personal income tax, higher sales taxes, higher payroll taxes, etc., let’s remember that the last round of higher taxes led to layoffs at businesses across Nevada. More new taxes will do the same.
If you really want to get down to what higher taxes will mean, here’s how I look at it. Should I raise the sales tax on a single-mom who just got laid off, or should I raise the payroll tax on the struggling business that just let her go? No. We must reduce government spending and reverse the unwise tax increases the legislature gave us last year.
The path to prosperity is paved with hard work and requires all of us moving in the same direction. That’s my ONE NEVADA policy. We are proud and independent in Nevada, and we have always found our way in difficult times. This spirit brought us great success.
We will find this success again by putting the power in the hands of the people of Nevada, not the State Legislature. I am driven to do what’s right and what’s best for Nevada. It’s like pushing a wagon up a hill. We all have to push together before we get to the top. The power-brokers in Carson City aren’t the answer for us. It’s we, the people of Nevada.
I need your support and your contributions so I can continue the good fight. You have my promise that I will continue to oppose with all my efforts and with my veto pen the tax-and-spend policies which have put us in this mess.
Let’s work as ONE NEVADA. I would be proud to lead the way and I would be honored to have your help.