The pencil outlines of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s vision for Nevada were drawn Monday, when he gave his inaugural address to launch his second and final term. The picture will become much clearer Jan. 15, when Gov. Sandoval unveils his two-year budget, presents his policy priorities and delivers his State of the State address.
But the final image will be a collaboration with the 2015 Legislature, which convenes Feb. 2. No one can say for certain exactly what it will look like — whether it will feature bold colors or a smeared canvas — but no one can deny the importance and urgency of the session. It will be a session of big ideas. And we’ll share some of ours starting Thursday.
Nevada is at a historic crossroads. The state recently marked its 150th anniversary, yet retains an alarmingly immature education system that is holding back economic development. The brutal, years-long housing collapse that wiped out untold thousands of families and businesses is over, but the modest recovery has led to population growth the state’s infrastructure is ill-equipped to handle. And Nevada still suffers from a gross misallocation of tax dollars across all governments — and a collective bargaining process rigged to favor public employees — that has left schools strapped while creating the best-compensated municipal workforce in America.
Gov. Sandoval’s inauguration was focused on who he wants to help most in his second term: schoolchildren. They presented every part of the ceremony. The governor and new Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, have committed to increasing public school spending, but have not specified how they might accomplish that.
They know it will take a lot more than new money to boost K-12 achievement, increase Nevada’s dismal graduation rate and elevate the value of a Nevada high school diploma. It will take major reforms and new measures to expand school choice and competition. And Nevadans won’t be able to bear the burden of additional taxes without the enactment of money-saving government, pension and labor reforms.
Nevada needs a bold agenda and bold leadership to cash in on the governor’s political capital and set Nevada on a steady course for generations to come.
This page has plenty of ideas for the governor and the Legislature. Over the next 25 days, we will present 25 legislative proposals to fix longstanding problems, make schools better and more accountable, and make all governments less costly and more efficient.
We share Gov. Sandoval’s optimism. We applaud his commitment to reforming and improving education and lifting the fortunes of Nevada’s children, families and businesses. And we hope he seizes the opportunity before him.