Pay no attention to the tax increases behind the curtain

Victor Joecks

Last week, Nevada’s legislative leadership held a press conference about the state’s budget situation. And said nothing. Or maybe their performance is reflecting their pay. Has there ever been a stronger case for merit pay?

The only attendee who said anything noteworthy was John Ritter, CEO of Focus Property Group, and his suggestion was hardly a wise one: He said the state needs a $1 billion tax increase.

The ironic thing is that Ritter should know better. He understands what a private company must do to deal with a downturn. As the Las Vegas Sun notes, “His workforce is just 10 percent of what it was at its peak.”

Here’s a man who cut 90 percent of his employees. Not, presumably, because he wanted to, but because he reacted to the economic realities, prioritized and then cut back.

Why, then, is he proposing that legislators take measures that would allow them to avoid making the kinds of responsible, adult decisions he has had to make in the private sector? While they’d be wise to disregard Ritter’s words, legislators should pay close attention to his actions, particularly as they fret over the need to implement 6 percent pay cuts.

Hard times have forced Nevada’s citizens and businesses to prioritize and eliminate some spending. Nevada’s government should be expected to live within its means as well.