The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

December 24, 2008
In Nevada's budget crisis, everything is on the table
As California's budget impasse drags on and on, with Republicans refusing to raise taxes and the governor haggling with Democrats over non-budget policy issues, it's an appropriate time to check in with our neighboring state -- Nevada.

There, with Democrats controlling both houses and Republican Jim Gibbons in the governor's office, Nevada leaders closed a $1.2 billion shortfall in the state's two-year budget by cutting programs, exhausting the state's rainy day fund, shelving building construction, and borrowing money. 

Having made those tough choices, Republican leaders are now acknowledging that higher taxes are inevitable as the governor and lawmakers prepare a new two-year budget for the fiscal year that begins midway in 2009. 

Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno had this to say to the Reno Journal Gazette:

"It will be very difficult for the governor to craft a budget that doesn't include any revenue enhancements. Everything has to be on the table."

If low-tax Nevada raises taxes, it will hardly be alone. Several other states are planning to raise fees and taxes to deal with a historic downturn in revenues. One of them is Idaho, where Gov. Butch Otter, a Republican, who wants the Legislature to raise vehicle-registration fees, raise the 25-cents-per-gallon gas tax and broaden the sales tax to include rental cars, according to a story Tuesday in the Washington Times.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that California pattern itself after Idaho or Nevada, a state with legal brothels. But at least leaders of those states aren't allowing ideology to get in the way of a budget solution.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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