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LETTER: Nevada Legislature meets in special session

As Nevada heads into the special legislative session, it’s hard not to make comparisons to the special session during the 2008 recession that focused on budget cuts. In that session, lawmakers met to make budget cuts, and the same thing occurred in 2010.

The 2013 special session found small relief not by raising revenue but by extending sunset taxes. State lawmakers met for a special session three more times after that — not to make cuts but to give tax breaks or fund projects such as Tesla, Faraday and the Raiders.

The depth and scope of the current crisis makes it imperative that this special session be different. This session should be used to acknowledge the need to develop a stronger and more reliable Nevada for the long term. Nevada’s overreliance on narrow revenue sources calls for an overdue evaluation of the state’s tax structure so that we are better positioned to weather the current crisis and those inevitably to follow.

While we understand the 2020 special session, with its limited scope and brevity, could result in devastating cuts to already underfunded systems, it is the responsibility of our legislators to shield our most vulnerable populations. This includes students already reeling from years of insufficient resources and supports.

Nevada has challenging days ahead. We encourage our legislators to look seriously at our problematic revenue structure, diversifying our economy by supporting our schools, strengthening community resources and becoming a Nevada that can weather financial storms and not crumble into one of the worst impacted states in the nation — yet again.

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