How did Jim Gibbons get elected governor in the first place?

Well, don’t look at me. I sure as hell didn’t vote for him. I voted for his opponent in 2006, an educator unlikely to say “fuck you” to education.

"Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen."

"Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen."

But I digress. Yes, Gov. Gibbons’ proposed budget for Nevada cuts an already-struggling state to the bone. His short-sightedness most strikingly pulls the rug out from under public education, a proposal that Clark County School District Superintendent Walt Rulffes calls “painfully regressive and destructive to the system we have been struggling to improve for years.”

The budget hasn’t even passed muster with the state legislature yet and already schools are on the verge of closing. This further punctuates Nevada’s bottom-of-the-list standing in the national education rankings as well as regional assessments.

However, the blame cannot be entirely laid at Gibbons’ feet. Or even at the feet of the people who voted him into office, likely the same schmucks who thought re-electing Dubya was a good idea. No, this is just the latest painful evidence of a state whose elected officials, citizens and business leaders still think is a maverick frontier state in which the best policy is “every man for himself.”

This is a state that has said “no” to a state lottery to  support education even as it continues to mine the pockets of a struggling gaming industry, which lawmakers “protect” by maintaining the lottery ban.

This is a state that entices businesses to move to Nevada by offering unreasonably low taxes, thereby increasing the number of people our state has to support without increasing funds into the state, allowing these businesses to send their profits back to wherever they come from. And that lack of a diversified tax base, that dependence on gaming revenues, has brought us here, to a crippling state budget deficit.

Listen up, backwards-thinking Nevadans who snub every movement to increase our state’s revenue and possibly secure our long-term future: It’s time to grow up. It’s time stop short-sighted thinking and selfishness. If you call 911, you expect an answer. If your home is on fire, you expect the fire department to show up. You want your children to have a school to go to every morning, maybe even one that doesn’t shove them into an overcrowded classroom with an underpaid teacher who is dead tired from her second job slinging cocktails. You want clean streets, green parks and free parking. Guess what? Someone has to pay for it. You. Me. Your boss. The guy who owns the 7-Eleven down the street. Gary Loveman. Everyone. We take care of each other, we make sure we have working schools, hospitals and roads — maybe even better than “working,” perhaps one day “excellent.”

If you live in Nevada and give a damn about its future, its children or, hell, even yourself, tell the governor and, more importantly, your state senate and assembly representatives that you will not stand for budget cuts and outmoded tax structures that will inevitably make your home unlivable. Here’s how:

It doesn’t matter where you claim political allegiances. It’s time to follow the example of the national political climate: Partisanship is dead. We need to work together for what’s best for our cities, state, country and future. We need to make sure we’re heard, and yes, I’m sorry to report, put our money where our mouths are. Let’s prove that Nevadans will not go quietly into the night.

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