Friday, April 17, 2009 | 2 a.m.
This is the week of signs.
There were the anti-tax, anti-Obama placards being waved at the tax day protest Wednesday outside the Legislative Building. Just down the Legislative Mall, Gov. Jim Gibbons’ administration erected a giant blue banner over the entrance to his Capitol office.
It reads: “The people of Nevada deserve a Government that works for them, not against them — Governor Jim Gibbons”
Dan Burns, the governor’s spokesman, said the sign “would best be described as a vision statement.
“Those words are something that the governor thinks his staff should remind themselves of every moment of every day,” Burns said.
Burns acknowledged the slogan wasn’t original to Gibbons or his staff, but added, “The governor really likes it.”
The staff likes it too. They have added it as a tagline to their e-mails and news releases.
Burns’ old e-mail tagline was from rocker Neil Young: “Keep on rockin’ in the free world.”
Maybe he was just trying to score some points with the state’s elected leaders, and Sen. John Ensign definitely did Thursday when he addressed the Nevada Legislature.
“You have a harder job than we do,” he said of Congress’ ability to borrow money to fund the federal budget, while Nevada is required to balance revenue and spending.
“You don’t get to pass the bill on to our children,” he said in his speech before Senate and Assembly members. “In D.C., the answer always seems to be just to print more money.”
In a question and answer session with reporters afterward, Ensign demurred when asked about the possibility of state lawmakers raising taxes to address the budget shortfall. The senator had raised some eyebrows during the debate over the federal economic stimulus in February, when he called states’ budgets “bloated.”
“I’m not going to tell them how to do their jobs,” Ensign said Thursday, sounding more conciliatory. “These are tough times. Everyone needs to look for waste ... Obviously I don’t think there’s 37 percent waste,” he said, referring to the proposed state budget cuts that would be necessary without additional revenue.
A legislative budget subcommittee approved Gov. Jim Gibbons’ recommendation to keep the museums in Nevada open only four days a week.
State Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, made a pitch to keep the state museum at Lorenzi Park in Las Vegas open more than four days a week, citing the city’s recent $20 million renovation of the park, which will likely lead to an increase in visitors.
The subcommittee rejected the Senate majority leader’s proposal.
The governor recommended closing the public gallery at the Nevada Historical Society in Reno and reducing operations from five days to four days. The committee restored money to keep the gallery open four days a week and the society for five days.
Assemblywoman Kathy McClain, D-Las Vegas, said when the economy rebounds the state’s museums should return to being open seven days a week.
It’s unlikely that will occur before the 2011 Legislature, meaning many of the current committee members, including McClain, will have been term-limited out of office.
The subcommittee also learned that Gibbons amended his budget to include $6 million to build exhibits for the new state museum at the Springs Preserve. The building is complete but the governor had not included money in his original budget for exhibits.
The new museum will be ready to open in October 2010.