For example we have a State Board of Cosmetology. How devastating would it be to eliminate it entirely and let the local communities regulate it like all other businesses? Along those same lines we have a State Board of Barbers and a Massage Therapist Board. Do we really need state regulation of our barbers and massage therapists? How will our society crumble without this state regulation?
Also under the business and industry department, we have a housing division and then a manufactured housing division. Could they possibly be combined? Then there is an audit division in the Legislative Counsel Bureau.
I thought the controller’s office did the audits. Are we duplicating services? Every County has a sheriff’s department and we also have the Nevada Highway Patrol. Do we really need state police to patrol our roads when the sheriff’s office does the same thing?
But our governor treats all programs as equal and subject to the same cuts. This way he doesn’t have to make any tough decisions about what is really important for the state. He doesn’t have to set any priorities or evaluate any state programs. He puts services for children on the same level as getting a hair cut. He equates education with getting a massage.
What the governor could do is actually try and raise some revenue. But he is paranoid about raising taxes. As if that will be the reason he isn’t elected to a second term.
Over the last eight years, the extremely rich have been given federal tax breaks that have increased the burden on the middle and working class. Why not try and recoup some of that money by increasing luxury taxes? Increase the tax on cars costing more than $50,000. How many people would that impact? Property taxes could be increased on land valued at more than $1 million dollars (excluding working farms and ranches). How many people would that impact who could not afford to pay. Increase the tax on alcohol and perfume. We can drink more water and use more deodorant. The opportunities are quite numerous.
The other thing the governor could do is get legislation passed that would not send non-violent criminals to state prisons at a cost to the taxpayers of about $30,000 per year. Our prison population is huge and we just keep making it easier to lock people up rather than deal with any underlying problem. Why should I have to pay for a man to be in prison just because he had a bag of marijuana in his house? Let him do community service and give back rather than have the community give him room and board for several years.
I doubt Gov. Gibbons will do any of the above. He will just continue to whittle down state government until no department can function properly. We should send the governor to a remedial math course. Apparently, he has forgotten how to add and can only subtract.
Jeff Blanck is an attorney in private practice in Reno. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.