Will the GOP waste a golden opportunity?
The Republicans control Nevada’s state government for the first time since the 1920s. They also control the Congress, although with a hostile Democratic president.
What now? The Party of No, of big talk about reducing government, is almost completely in control of the federal and most state governments.
The libertarian challenge is simply this: With the Republicans in power, will there be an actual reduction in the budgets they control, by even one dime? Certainly not in the Congress, where they want to increase defense spending immediately. The best chance is in the states. Nowhere is it more possible than Nevada. Will government actually be cut this legislative session?
If the Nevada budget is not cut, will its growth at least be confined to population growth and inflation rates? The legislature should debate and pass a growth limitation law for Nevada that is similar to Colorado’s.
Can education be funded, or as a libertarian would ask, should it be? Isn’t education too important to leave to the government? I know, Nevada is not ready for that. Too many harried parents build their lives around the schools. At least the legislature can lay to rest the failed notion of funding education by a margin tax, and come up with some more creative funding solutions.
They also need to reform Kenny Guinn’s misguided Millennium Scholarship program. The Republicans will strengthen vocational education and the community college systems. Unlike the Democrats, they will not claim that a college education for everyone is the way out of poverty. Inflated degrees and tuition—everyone, it seems, has a master’s or three these days—should be replaced with good, basic real-world skills. Will this be the session where Nevada’s parents finally get some private-school choice options for their children? I hope the teachers’ unions can be persuaded to accept that the top teachers should make top dollar. Will the tired, union friendly, faux solution of class-size reduction finally be rejected in Carson City?
Forcing Ira Hansen to step down as majority leader in the Assembly was misguided, in my humble opinion. Those who exploited controversial statements he made as a Sparks Tribune columnist and radio talk show host should remember that he was fired from his radio show for criticizing the special relationship that both major parties have created between the U.S. and Israel. Need we add anti-Semitic to the list of his politically incorrect sins? It is troubling that attacks on free speech nowadays are mostly from the left, not the right. The answer to stupid speech is more speech, not more PC labels.
The Hansens have been a fixture in Nevada politics for decades. While I disagree with Janine Hansen on social issues and immigration, her Buchanonite right-of-center philosophy has much in common with libertarian small-government ends. She will now have to deal with the dismantling of her core achievement, the Defense of Marriage constitutional amendment. Janine and others, like home schooling advocate Lynn Chapman, always attend the Nevada Legislature, and their Nevada Families group is an excellent watchdog on taxes, civil liberties, federalism and privacy. You may not realize that Janine often joins the ACLU in testifying in Carson City against assaults on these important liberties. Her “BYE BYE BLM” bumper sticker will be seen on a lot of vehicles in Carson City this year.
The time is now for the Republicans in Nevada and the country. Hopefully, we will not look back on 2015 and wonder how the elephant could labor so mightily to give birth to such a small mouse of real change for Nevada.