Majority playing hardball on budget

Geoffrey Lawrence

Leaders of the legislative majority announced yesterday that they are changing the rules regarding budget hearings mid-stream.

Their plan is to pull all budget bills out of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees and move them into “Committee of the Whole” meetings where they will be debated by all lawmakers on the floor of each chamber. Apparently, the majority leadership is unsatisfied with the minority’s resolve to support Governor Sandoval’s budget proposals and is hoping that this move will exert additional public pressure on minority members to levy new taxes on Nevada families.

The majority’s plan is to parade tax consumers to the floor where there will be additional media exposure to create sob stories for the press. Their hope appears to be that this will create sufficient pressure on minority members to induce them abandon support of Governor Sandoval’s proposed budget. What they hope will go unnoticed are the stories of Nevada businesses that would close their doors as a result of any additional tax hike and the newly unemployed who would be unable to feed their children.

A very small sampling of those stories has been collected by the Nevada Policy Research Institute and published under the title “Nevada’s Tax Debate: The Untold Stories.” The human destruction that results from high taxes and burdensome regulation, although generally overlooked, is nothing less than overwhelming. (That reminds me…did I mention that ATLAS SHRUGGED DEBUTS IN THEATRES THIS WEEK!!!)

NPRI further looks forward to the opportunity to make the case for reining in state spending in a more public setting, particularly in light of the rampant increase in spending over the past decade. State liabilities today far outstrip available resources and, without substantial reform, runaway costs for Medicaid and other programs in coming years will only exacerbate this problem. The need for reform in every major area of state spending – from K-12, to higher education, to Medicaid, to Public Safety – has never been more clear.

In addition, NPRI will take advantage of the additional floor votes that will result from this new strategy by including them in our Legislative Report Card for 2011.

Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.