Nevada’s budget situation explained in 100 words (and four pictures)

Victor Joecks

If you prefer lots of words and details, please read one of Geoff’s recent commentaries: Tax and Spending Control could have averted fiscal crisis, Unsustainable spending increase leads to budget deficit, Nevada’s budget woes are the result of increased per-capita spending, or Previously insulated public employees now feeling shock

But I understand why some people’s eyes glaze over anytime there’s talk about budget issues, so here’s my challenge: Explain Nevada’s budget situation in 100 words or less.

Here’s your challenge: Stay with me for 100 words (and four pictures).

The payoff is that you’ll understand Nevada’s budget situation – why we’re having a special session and where this approximately $890 million “deficit” came from – far better than most other citizens in the Silver State.

One hundred words, I’m serious. … Ready? Go!

Nevada has dramatically increased general fund spending over the last 18 years. (All numbers are inflation-adjusted.) [16 words]

Spending growth isn’t just a result of population growth. Nevada’s legislature has increased real per-capita expenditures more than 30 percent in the last six years. [41 words]

If Nevada had enacted a Tax and Spending Control Constitutional Amendment in 1994 that limited government growth to increases in population and inflation, Nevada would have a budget surplus. [70 words]

Nevada has also spent $1.94 billion more than was budgeted in the last 16 years. [85 words]

Takeaway: Nevada’s current shortfall isn’t a crisis; it’s the natural result of excessive spending. [99 words]