Friday, June 6, 2003 | 9:32 a.m.
June 6, 2003
Gov. Kenny Guinn is being portrayed as a tax-and-spend liberal by some fellow Republicans. Assembly Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, has suggested that ideological differences between Republicans and Guinn, over the governor's proposal to raise taxes, have caused the state budget crisis. "This is just a philosophical train wreck," Hettrick told the Sun on Thursday. These assertions couldn't be further from the truth.
Guinn is a fiscal conservative who, in his first four years as governor, didn't try to raise taxes. It was Guinn who sought the creation of a commission to look for waste in government and find ways to reduce spending. Guinn also implemented a hiring freeze for state government employees, an action he says has saved the state roughly $30 million. At the end of the 2001 legislative session, Guinn agreed to made an additional $120 million in cuts to the state budget. This hardly is the work of a wild-eyed liberal.
All that Guinn has wanted to do this year is properly fund government services, such as education. To do so, Guinn has recognized that there must be a tax increase and he has proposed one that will treat all businesses fairly. There hasn't been a statewide tax increase since 1991, which means many government services have deteriorated as the state's population has almost doubled. Even if Guinn's support for increased spending becomes reality, government wouldn't keep pace with the need of Nevada's growing population. State services, in most areas, would only continue treading water. Opposition to the governor's tax and budget plan isn't about ideology. This is all about many Republicans in the Legislature, and some Democrats too, angling for what they see as political advantage in next year's elections. But if they keep this up, the lawmakers may be the on es heading for a train wreck on Election Day.