Don’t let the governor cut any budgets

To the editor:

Our vital community services have been underfunded for years, even as the state has experienced astronomical growth.

Now, after only two months of less-than-predicted revenues, Gov. Jim Gibbons is asking public employees to do their jobs with even fewer resources than before — putting children and vulnerable residents at risk.

An Oct. 24 editorial cartoon by the Review-Journal’s Jim Day portrayed public employees as overweight and lazy and blamed our recently cut retirement benefits for the shortfall. That was offensive. Is Mr. Day not aware that just last session, the Legislature passed a bill drastically reducing retirement benefits for public employees?

I am a nurse at Nevada’s only public hospital, University Medical Center. Nationally, there is a shortage of nurses willing to work at the bedside, and UMC is not an exception. Cutting our budget and retirement benefits means we can’t recruit or hire the nurses our community desperately needs. No matter how hard my fellow nurses and I work, UMC can wave goodbye to staffing levels that ensure patient safety.

The Legislature first decided to tighten its belt on the backs of folks who keep our state running and protect and serve our most vulnerable residents. Now, the governor is looking to pass the pain on to UMC patients as well.

If Nevada wants to make sure patients receive the care they need and Nevadans have access to health care, we need to stop cutting budgets. And stop unfairly blaming public employees.

Sandy Stine

LAS VEGAS

 

Child support

To the editor:

Nevada is ranked 49th in collecting child support. What happens when non-custodial parents fail to pay child support?

The answer is simple: The taxpayer picks up the tab to assist the custodial parent, if it is necessary to do this.

A new law should be en-acted. This would set up a trust fund when the child is born. Each month or year, parents would contribute to this trust fund. In the event of a divorce, there would be money available. Or at age 18, the child would have some money for college.

Tish Pierce

LAS VEGAS

 

Gaming hand

To the editor:

From a recent Review-Journal story: "Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio thinks if anybody should be raising taxes and increasing education spending, it should be the Legislature, not a ballot initiative."

Right, Mr. Raggio. It should be, but of course it won’t be.

Let’s start with a simple aphorism: You don’t bite the hand that is feeding you. The "gaming" industry feeds money to politicians. Therefore, to expect politicians to tax the casino "hand" is expecting our greatest industry to tax itself.

The teachers union "initiative" that seeks to raise the gaming tax to pay for education was created to overcome this obvious conflict of interest.

duane l. getty

HENDERSON

 

Tax mess

To the editor:

I agree with your editorial calling for Congress to fix the dreaded alternative minimum tax and to eventually eliminate the tax completely. As you stated, this should be a no-brainer.

But I have one question: If this is such a no-brainer, why didn’t the Republicans fix this years ago when they had control of Congress?

I think your red is showing in blaming only the Democrats for not fixing the AMT.

Richard Pratt

HENDERSON

 

Gaming Control Board

To the editor:

Thanks for your Oct. 25 editorial on the State Contractors Board being able to keep complaints secret ("Openness and due process"). Unfortunately, there is another powerful state agency that uses special-interest legislation to enable it to operate in secret as well: the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Maintaining public confidence in the integrity and honesty of Nevada’s gaming industry is of paramount importance to the well-being of our state. Unfortunately, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is presently able to, and does, stymie public inquiry into some of its important activities. Because of this, confidence in the integrity of the board is dwindling in the minds of a significant number of gaming patrons.

The board does little or nothing to protect the public from casino wrongdoing. Most strikingly, the board will not disclose the result of its investigations of patron complaints of wrongdoing by gaming industry licensees, relying on two sections of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 463.120 and NRS 463.3407) as the basis for its secret operations.

Victims of wrongdoing are not even told the results of investigations into their complaints. Surely this is not what the Legislature intended when enacting the statutes.

AL ROGERS

LAS VEGAS

 

Nuke scares

To the editor:

All the hand-wringing surrounding disposal of spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain could be put to rest if an objective risk analysis were performed. The Thursday articles on Gov. Jim Gibbons being snubbed by a Senate panel investigating the future of the project, and another story on state bureaucrats trying to limit the amount of waste to be stored, both demonstrate the lack of knowledge that creates unjustified fear and feeds the pandering of the politicians.

Spent fuel rods are chemically inert and insoluble. A rail accident or an earthquake or flood at the Yucca Mountain site will not cause radioactive material to be spewed into the atmosphere or spread around the countryside, no matter how much waste is stored there. I wouldn’t sleep with spent fuel in my bedroom, but it is inherently a lot more safe than tanker cars full of chlorine or propane or gasoline trucks on our highways.

How about spending a few hundred thousand dollars on an objective hazard assessment, and use knowledge and common sense to decide whether to proceed with the project? Scaring the public with a lot of false fears to advance political careers should cease.

As a chemical engineer with experience in hazard analysis, I would bet the risk would be determined to be on par with the Earth being hit by a large asteroid.

Tom Keller

HENDERSON

 

Pet-food diet

To the editor:

In reading the front-page Oct. 17 article regarding the meager Social Security cost-of-living-adjustment this year of 2.3 percent — which isn’t even close to the inflation rate on things seniors buy the most of, such as food and medical care — I didn’t know whether to gnash my teeth or laugh.

The article seems to suggest the formula should be changed to reflect this reality — and, of course, that makes sense. But don’t hold your breath as long as George Bush or any other Republican is president or Republicans have a filibuster advantage in the Senate. And that means a lot of poor or near-poor seniors will have to eat more pet food at the end of the month and go without life-saving medicine more often. Oh, and don’t forget not being able to afford to keep their homes heated in the winter.

Another program that allows seniors to live longer, healthier lives — Medicare — is under assault, also. But what else is new, because it will always be in danger as long as Republicans are drawing breaths. Mr. Bush says he is a "great believer in private medicine." But under the private system, only the rich or well-off do very well, thank you, and that is all the GOP really cares about.

DAN OLIVIER

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.

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