The last line of the editorial in today’s Las Vegas newspaper said the Nevada Legislature exceeded expectations because it was ended without a series of special sessions.
Well, it certainly exceed my expectations, and I expected it to grab more of our hard-earned income, do nothing to require education accountability, do nothing to curb spending, do nothing to reform public employee pensions and collective bargaining.
It exceeded my worst fears by raising taxes $1.5 billion and enacting a mini-IRS with the governor’s commerce tax, despite voter rejection of this concept in November. There was hardly even a sop to merit pay for state workers or teachers, just more pay for everyone — 3 percent raises across the board no matter how poor the performance. Atop that was a bill to allow school districts to rollover or extend taxpayer approved bond programs without taxpayer approval — another $4 billion or so over the next decade.
In a last-minute deal a bill passed early in the session to remove the prevailing wage requirement for school construction was killed in what was described as a deal to will Democratic support for the governor’s tax hikes — like the Democrats were going to really vote against tax hikes? What a ruse.
A bill to allow local governments to drop collective bargaining was starved to death.
It was all take and no give.
OK, there was one bright spot, as noted by Investor’s Business Daily today, the Senate and Assembly passed an education savings account bill that lets families take 90 percent of what a public school would spend on educating their children and spend that money at a private school. Families below 185 percent of the poverty level, about $45,000, would get 100 percent.
That will allow those parents with enough gumption to do so to opt out of the failing public school system, which despite the 16 percent spending increase in this budget will still be failing a decade from now — just as they are still failing despite a huge budget increase a decade ago.
The devil may be in the details. How hard will the bureaucracy make it for parents to opt out?
The governor hasn’t signed it yet. Do you think?