Watching the Clark County school board’s budget deception move through the news cycle

Victor Joecks

Yesterday, I detailed a major part of the liberals’ playbook – inflate spending cuts by either assuming massive spending increases or overstating the scope of the cuts.

The most recent example is the budget the Clark County school board approved Wednesday, which the board claimed had a $407 million shortfall and would lead to 1,800 job cuts.

What the board didn’t include in its budget was an additional $159 million that it had available, but chose – chose! – to exclude. While I’m all for fiscal prudence and have no doubt there’s more than $159 million in waste in CCSD, not including this $159 million in funding allowed the school board to tout this 1,800 job-cut figure.

And why would the school board want to emphasize job cuts? To stoke public outrage over the “devastating cuts” to education, which it hopes will lead to greater funding from the Legislature.

Example one: today’s Las Vegas Sun editorial.

The Republican governor has taken a hard-line position on the budget and taxes – his way or no way – and that could make for a long summer. …

The tough stance may work well with the far right of the Republican Party, but it won’t work well with most voters. People want solutions, not ideological platitudes. The state is facing a budget shortfall of more than $2 billion, and Sandoval’s plan would let taxes expire and then gut state spending and services. Doing so will have serious consequences on Nevada for years to come. …

[For example, t]he Clark County School District approved a plan Wednesday that would cut $407 million in the upcoming fiscal year. It includes laying off 1,834 employees and slashing spending on textbooks and supplies. There could be an additional 1,000 people laid off if district unions don’t make further concessions, school officials said. Regardless of what happens, larger class sizes and fewer opportunities for students will result. …

Unfortunately, Sandoval doesn’t seem to care. This really isn’t about budgets, it’s about policy. Republicans don’t want to waste the budget crisis to advance their agenda of gutting government.

Ironically enough, the sub-headline of the editorial is “Sandoval won’t let the facts get in the way of implementing his ideology.”

You know, “facts” like CCSD is going to have 1,800 job cuts next year, because it won’t spend the $159 million available to it. “Facts” like Nevada has a $2 billion-plus budget deficit, when general fund spending is going to go from $6.4 billion to $6.1 billion under Sandoval’s plan and Nevada is going to collect $5.8 billion in general fund revenues.

Example two: the news stories from My News 3, 8 News Now and 13 Action News, which all reported on the $400 million budget cuts and 1,800 layoffs. While the stories mentioned that the budget numbers aren’t final, the 13 Action News report, for instance, is entitled, “Trustee in tears while passing school districts final budget.” There’s little doubt what the takeaway is from that story.

(I assume Fox 5 had a story on the school district budget as well, but I couldn’t find it on its site.)

It’s a lot easier to generate outrage when you’re distorting reality – and Nevada’s leftists have done plenty of distorting during this session.

What Nevada’s intellectually honest citizens, media members and lawmakers need to do is keep their guard up.

Don’t be fooled again.