(Chuck Muth) – Years ago Gov. Jim Gibbons warned Nevadans of a longtime political trick pulled regularly in Washington, DC, when budget cuts become necessary. The first thing they do is close down the Washington Monument and other parks and tourist attractions so as to stir up citizen anger against the cuts.
It’s not that there aren’t a LOT of other things that *could* be cut; it’s that liberals and bureaucrats know that closing the parks is the best thing they can do to evoke sympathy for raising taxes instead of cutting spending. And guess what Nevada state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) is talking about doing to balance Nevada’s upside down budget?
Yep, closing state parks.
“Arizona has closed their state parks,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Horsford said recently. “It is an example of what could be done to eliminate an entire state function.”
Now, most people will, of course, focus on the first part of Sen. Horsford’s statement about closing state parks. But what we really should be focusing on is the ending part about this being a “state function” in the first place.
What the debate at the upcoming special session needs to be about is what constitutes an “essential” government service or program and what we can, and probably should, be able to live without.
Now, designating certain unique areas as park land and taking it off the books for development, etc., is fine. But why do we have to “close” them if we lay off the people who do little more than serve as toll collectors at the entrances to the parks?
I mean, other than trash collection and some routine maintenance, what else “needs” to be done? Do we *have* to have a multi-million dollar interpretive center for people to hike a trail and enjoy the natural surroundings?
If you stop charging taxpayers additional fees (taxes by another name) to visit the parks, you’d have no need to hire so many government workers who do pretty much nothing more than collect fees to visit a park the taxpayers have already paid for.
So instead of “closing” the parks to balance the budget, let’s “open” them by eliminating both the fees and the toll booths the government has set up to keep people from enjoying them for free. Let’s give the citizens and taxpayers a break….and give non-essential and unnecessary park staff some pink slips.
And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of the damn parking meters and meter maids downtown, too!