Let them lift weights

Oceguera is giving the taxpayers a real workout.

For months, Assemblyman John Oceguera and his band of merry thugs in Carson City have been caterwauling that our state government is a withered shell of what it used to be, and only an emergency transfusion of desperately needed tax increases will bring this feeble creature back from the brink of complete and utter insolvency.

It is widely known that Nevada’s treasury is perilously close to empty. State officials from the governor on down (the Republicans at least) are foregoing their pay raises to do their part to help balance the budget. Thank goodness there was still enough change stuck in the couch cushions for Oceguera to remodel his office and add a fancy new workout room!

Sixty thousand dollars worth of change, to be exact.

Yup, you read that right. An online site says incoming Speaker of the Assembly John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, just spent $60,000 to remodel his newly acquired office and build a high-end workout room in the Legislature. Perhaps now isn’t a good time to point out that former Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars remodeling that very same office a mere two years ago?

Oceguera’s new private executive washroom and iron palace—ahem, I meant “legislative workout center” or whatever it is destined to be named—is rumored to be located in a room formerly used to print bills in-house. I guess I’m just glad he didn’t bulldoze the state archives to make room for this boondoggle.

Oceguera tried to justify these extravagant and frivolous expenses by pointing out that $550k was just trimmed from the legislature’s budget by not printing bill drafts on paper. That’s fine, but the whole point of “cutting spending” is to actually save money and well, cut spending.

Of course, the prudent thing to do would be to negotiate a preferred arrangement with the health club down the street from the capitol and make the legislators and staff pay for it themselves, but that would be much too conservative of a thing to do. Why do that when, with just a few strokes of the magic pen, Johnny O can make the legislature look like Barbie’s Malibu Dream Mansion?

Nevada has been ravaged for two years now with rampant layoffs, some state services have been all but eliminated, and our economy is the worst in state history. Just how elite and out of touch is Johnny O? As a tribute to Marie Antoinette, another extravagant spender, perhaps we should call him Monsieur Déficit instead.

I offer a hat tip to conservative stalwart Chuck Muth for bringing these outrageous facts to light. Things like this directly contradict the notion that the state has no fat left to trim, and big tax increases are the only hope we have. To compound this, Oceguera and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, recently rejected a proposal to create a joint legislative committee to specifically target and publicly identify budget reductions that can and must be made.

I’m sure the shiny new private conference room in a ginormous building filled with private conference rooms is worth it. I mean, how did every other Speaker of the Assembly manage without it?

Thank goodness only the governor has access to a state-owned plane.

The 76th session of the Nevada Legislature hasn’t even started yet, and already it’s moved from the sublime to the ridiculous. I want to laugh, but alas I cannot. This is real money, folks. Money that belongs to us, and now our greedy lawmakers want more of it. A lot more. Oh Monsieur Déficit, your antics never fail to amaze and astound.

When we said it was absolutely essential to trim the fat, we meant from the state budget, not from John Oceguera’s waistline.