Real facts on the state budget

To the editor:

As legislators, we were recently asked to make very difficult budget cuts that will be felt in our state for many years to come. More cuts will likely be needed. As we make these tough choices, it is critical that we have accurate information on which to make our decisions.

In a recent editorial, the Review-Journal cited revenue numbers found in the blog of state Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, and concluded: “Even with no growth in the next two years, state budget expansions will have consistently outstripped the pace of inflation and population growth combined. … Those are the facts.”

Those aren’t the facts. Sen. Beers’ numbers are totally wrong.

When the correct numbers are used for analysis, Nevada revenues have not kept pace with population growth and inflation since 1996; in fact, there is an almost 7 percent decrease. Here are the problems with Sen. Beers’ assumptions and arithmetic:

Fact: The general fund revenue in fiscal year 1996 was $1.291 billion, not $1.204 billion. (Sen. Beers excluded license fees, interest income and a variety of other general fund revenues in his calculations.)

Fact: The actual general fund revenue in FY 2007 was $3.145 billion, not $3.169 billion. (This was the Economic Forum’s November 30, 2006, forecast for FY 2007, subsequently revised downward to $3.147 billion at their May 1, 2007, meeting.)

Fact: The general fund revenue for FY 2009 is projected to be $2.982 billion, not $3.048 billion. (In November 30, 2006, the Economic Forum forecast FY 2009 general fund revenue of $3.578 billion; this was reduced by around $60 million at their May 1, 2007, meeting, and reduced by another $530.8 million at their June 20 meeting.)

Therefore, actual general fund revenue in FY 1996 was $761 per person. Based on the current revised forecast, projected general fund revenue in FY 2009 — 13 years later — is estimated to be $1,020 per person, a nominal increase of $259 before adjusting for inflation. The Fiscal Analysis Division of the Legislative Counsel Bureau has prepared information on inflation-adjusted general fund revenue per person on a fiscal year, historical basis. Using 1996 as the base year, inflation-adjusted general fund revenue estimates for FY 2009 are only $708 per person, a net decrease from 1996 of $53 per person (6.96 percent).

Therefore, despite the claims in your editorial, general fund revenues are not keeping pace with inflation and population growth.

Those are the facts.

Moises Denis



Cover story

To the editor:

The controversial New Yorker cover regarding Barack Obama and his wife, despite what you maintained in your July 18 editorial, was a tasteless gaffe.

The method of satire is to poke fun at individuals or institutions, its purpose being to bring about desired change. The recent cover was neither humorous nor satirical. Had there been some sort of disclaimer, suggesting that the cover was to target off-the-wall perceptions regarding the Obamas, or even a related story, then the cover might have been seen as characteristically New Yorker. But there was neither.

Apologists may offer that sophisticated readers understood the point of the cover — satire — but I seriously doubt the average voter can or will see beyond Michelle Obama’s fist pump.

J.H. Esperian


Pricing effect

To the editor:

When oil rose from $128 to $147 per barrel, my local gas station’s prices also rose — more than 20 cents per gallon. Now that oil prices have declined over the last week, back to $128 barrel, the same station lowered its price by 6 cents.

If we allow our elected officials to permit new drilling offshore and in Alaska, does anyone really believe that would have a significant impact on what we pay at the pump? Oil companies would simply sell any new crude supply at the world market price, with a barely discernible result to the consumer.



No comparison

To the editor:

Who does Charles Krauthammer think he is (Review-Journal, July 20)? After seven and a half years of a so-called leader who is so “full of himself” that he thinks God has ordained his slaughter of thousands of Iraqis, his shredding of the Constitution and his Enron-ing of the U.S. economy, Mr. Krauthammer has the nerve to compare Barack Obama, who is running to correct this egregious lunacy, unfavorably to mythical kings, redeemers and questionable presidents (Reagan)? Why doesn’t he compare Obama with George W. Bush?

The answer is simple: There is no comparison between the refreshing self-confidence and intelligence of Barack Obama and the smirking, thick-headed toxic narcissism of Mr. Bush.

So, who does Mr. Krauthammer think he is to make such supercilious assertions? Who cares?

Bob Hannah


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