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Kiddie Porn, Bridges and Taxes, Oh My!

Tax revenues continue to decline and yet another kick-the-can-down-the-road special session of the Legislature appears inevitable this fall, so naturally it’s time to check in on the Galena Creek Bridge.

The Galena Creek Bridge is an engineering marvel in northern Nevada. It’s a mini-version of the under-construction bridge over Hoover Dam in Clark County and is described by the company currently building it as “the largest structure of this type in the United States.”

The problem is the original contractor hired by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) to build the Galena Creek Bridge decided mid-way through the project that they didn’t have the ability to do get the job done. If I recall correctly, the company claimed that high winds whipping through the canyon below meant that building a bridge over Galena Creek wasn’t possible.

As usual, folks who say something can’t be done end up getting pushed out of the way by folks doing it. Such was the case when the contract to build the unbuildable bridge was re-awarded to the Fisher Sand & Gravel Company. Now the bridge they said couldn’t be built has been redesigned and is scheduled for completion sometime in 2011.

So what’s all this have to do with the state budget?

Because when the Legislature reconvenes in special session you’re gonna hear a lot of talk about how the government is operating at a bare-bones level and that there’s just no “fat” left to cut out. You will be told, yet again, that the only alternative is to raise taxes by “broadening” the tax base.

Which takes us to another highway project in southern Nevada where a contract was awarded earlier this year to complete a section of the Las Vegas beltway. That contract was awarded to Las Vegas Paving by the all-Democrat members of the Clark County Commission despite the fact that Fisher Sand & Gravel (see “Galena Creek Bridge” above) bid $4 million LESS to do the same job.

And why did the seven Democrats on the Clark County Commission decide to pay one company $4 million more in taxpayer money than the other company? Because Las Vegas Paving is a union company and Fisher Sand & Gravel isn’t, that’s why. Apparently the government still has plenty of money to waste as long as it’s wasted on welfare subsidies for organized labor.

Of course, the commissioners couldn’t be so crass as to admit this publicly. So they hid behind a secret opposition research report prepared by organized labor which purportedly showed that Fisher wasn’t a “responsible bidder” for the project

And what, pray tell, made the company building an unbuildable bridge not a “responsible bidder” to pave a flat stretch of highway outside Las Vegas? Well, according to Commissioner Tom Collins the fact that a former Fisher executive was convicted of possession of child pornography way back in 2005 – before the company was hired to save the Galena Creek bridge project.

To hear Mr. Collins tell it, if you’re so irresponsible as to employ someone who likes to watch kiddie porn that means you can’t be a responsible provider of a service to the government.

But wait a minute. If that’s the criteria doesn’t that mean the Clark County school district needs to close up shop? I mean, didn’t police bust a Boulder City science teacher just last March on 64 counts of possession of child pornography, including “sexual assault of a minor under 14 years old, lewdness with a child under 14 and use of a minor in producing pornography.”

Why is it that employing a sex deviate only disqualifies an extremely competent non-union job-creating construction company from a government project that would save the taxpayers $4 million? And why should taxes be raised when the government continues to spend more money it doesn’t have than it has to? Inquiring minds wanna know.