Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

It’s past time to treat us fairly

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Thank you for analyzing and questioning the fairness of the complex funding formula for higher education in this state in your editorial, “Parity? What’s that?”

There are some important issues that many of our lawmakers appear to have missed in their deliberations and legal considerations for public funding of our higher education system. The first is that UNLV is an up-and-coming university that has outranked UNR on a number of fronts — not to demean that excellent university — despite the crippling budget cuts from which we are still suffering. The second is that UNLV is larger than UNR and is the only research-intensive institution that serves Southern Nevada and, as a result, is a crucial innovative engine and source of talent that greatly benefits the economy of our state.

From examining the immature political games that are being played at the expense of the hard-working taxpayers in this state (particularly in the south), it is clear that Nevada’s political infrastructure must be radically altered and updated from the 19th century/early 20th century to reflect the dramatic shift in center of gravity in population toward the southern portion of this state.

I don’t know that there is any other state in the union that has such a bizarre, antiquated and anti-democratic political system that favors a sparsely populated and economically challenged north over the vibrant, dynamic and economic golden goose of the south. If our political leaders in the south can’t accept (and continue to deny) this reality, then perhaps we should we should consider a referendum to go our separate ways and create a new state.

The author is a professor at UNLV.

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  1. A long time ago, on this blog, I suggested the same thing: secede from Northern Nevada, and become something like South Nevada. The money that drives this states economy, other than mining in the north, is generated in the south, particularly Las Vegas. Ever since I've lived here, it's been the same old same old when divvying up funding, with the south generally getting the short end. Parity should be achieved where them's that produce get the largest share of the funds. Simple, but it has eluded state government for decades.

  2. Elected officials, as well as residents, need to represent and be one state of Nevada not a north and south. If we can't get beyond this silly notion of north versus south, and apparently we haven't, Nevada will remain divided and backward, exactly as we are and always have been.

    Carmine D

  3. We can get beyond this "...silly notion..." when equity is achieved.

  4. Dear Friends:

    There is a typo in the last sentence: I meant to say: "If our political leaders in the North... ." instead of the leaders in the South. It is largely these Northern "leaders" and their entitlement attitudes that penalize Southern Nevada who are creating many of the currently unfair tax redistribution problems for higher education.
    BTW, states have referenda on a number of pressing issues all the time. That is the essence of democracy. If Southern Nevadans are not being properly served by their leaders and are finding their tax revenues going outside of Southern Nevada far too often when they are needed here, then they have every right to consider a referendum on secession.

  5. The economy is northern Nevada is much more wholesome and diverse--suggesting a need for more degree programs. I do however agree that we need to get over the idea that we must provide higher education in every remote village throughout rural Nevada. When a student decides to pursue higher ed, s/he must be willing to pay the freight and reside in a metropolitan area.

  6. You've got it reversed. Equity is achieved when Nevada gets beyond the silly north versus south notion. I would have thought that this kind of backward thinking went away when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. Apparently not. It's still alive and well in Nevada.

    Carmine D

  7. "Yes, it would be great if there was not a north v south rivalry in this state but that's the way it has been for a long, long time."

    Wrong. Here's how history is made. Change what you can't accept rather than accept what you can't change.

    Carmine D