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The Cure for Nevada’s Budget Ills

“Unless Nevadans wish to pay more and receive less, there’s not going to be enough money to go around next year,” writes Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherm Frederick on Sunday. “What to do? Here’s a good prescription: Start with a no-nonsense evaluation of existing government services. Identify the services primary to the life and well-being of Nevadans.”

Talk about strange bedfellows. This is EXACTLY what Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston and I have been saying for, like, forever. I mean, if Jon Ralston, Sherm Frederick and Chuck Muth can all agree on a course of action, shouldn’t the Legislature, you know, take it?

“Then, gather up all of the nest-feathering, job-killing public employee benefits — wildly generous pensions, preposterous side agreements, guaranteed overtime, ward-healing graft and no-work work rules — and eliminate them,” Frederick continued, “resolving from that day forward to only pay a fair day’s government pay for a fair day’s government work. That, I promise you, will solve Nevada’s budget problems.”

OK, that second part is the proverbial devil in the proverbial details. I’m with Sherm on this one, but somehow I think we lost Jon. Still, that’s EXACTLY why the Nevada Legislature needs to HAVE this debate over exactly what constitutes an “essential” service and what doesn’t.

Until you reach that consensus, arguing how to pay for government in Nevada will continue to be an exercise in aggravating futility. We’ll never have enough money to pay for all the government the liberals want and we’ll never cut existing government to the levels conservatives want.

By agreeing to identify and limit government to its core, legitimate functions, the Left and the Right could come to a mutually dissatisfied compromise in the middle. If only our elected leaders would lead us there.