On the sidelines

Many legislative Democrats desperately want to raise your taxes to close the state’s budget gap. But they’re afraid to accept the political fallout that voicing their convictions would generate, so they prefer to boo and hiss at the governor from the sidelines.

It’s the same approach on the budget they took in 2009: Never propose anything specific, just criticize the governor’s spending plan as cold and heartless — threatening the children, the elderly and all of those in between — hoping to erode voter opposition to higher taxes.

On Wednesday, state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, again trotted out the playbook. With the Legislature set to convene in Carson City next week, Sen. Horsford lamented that Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed public safety budget would put Nevadans in jeopardy.

“There are consequences to these budget cuts,” he said. “Public safety has to be at the forefront of our decisions. I am concerned about the risk we are putting the public in.”

Gov. Sandoval has proposed cutting the Department of Public Safety budget to $79.9 million, down from the $106.3 million approved in 2009.

This would, among other things, entail eliminating 45 parole and probation positions and spreading their caseloads to the remaining officers.

Sen. Horsford promised hearings on the matter during the upcoming 2011 session. Fine. A debate over what to cut and the ramifications of those cuts is necessary and proper — especially when it comes to public safety.

But is it too much to ask that Sen. Horsford and his fellow Democratic lawmakers come forward with a budget blueprint of their own, rather than just criticize parts of Gov. Sandoval’s plan for political gain?

What precisely does Sen. Horsford propose to do with the public safety budget given the state’s revenue situation?

Bueller? Bueller?

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