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School police are here to stay

Last month’s senseless school massacre in Connecticut was a seismic political event, rattling every legislative and executive branch office in the country.

Those reverberations will have one immediate effect in the Las Vegas Valley: It is now politically impossible to cut back, let alone eliminate, the Clark County School District Police Department.

If anything, there will be a push to grow a force that has made headlines over the years for running through chiefs like temp workers, writing speeding tickets far away from schools, racking up questionable overtime to pad six-figure incomes and allegedly covering up an underage drinking incident that led to a traffic fatality.

The National Rifle Association responded to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting by proposing that armed guards or police officers be placed in every U.S. school to protect students against mass shooters. The idea is winning surprising favor among many Democratic lawmakers, primarily because they see it as a middle-ground solution Republicans could get behind. But Democrats favor having full-fledged cops in the schools, rather than trained volunteers or teachers carrying concealed weapons.

It’s an incredibly expensive, inefficient idea, primarily because police officers would be bored silly hanging out at elementary schools all day, where they’re least needed. Having a uniformed, armed police officer on campus failed to stop the Columbine High School shooting.

Nevertheless, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has proposed a jobs bill for school police that is laughable for its scale and proof that our politicians are more interested in grandstanding than being honest with voters. Boxer has proposed allocating $50 million in grants – not $50 billion, $50 million – that school districts could apply for to fund officer salaries, equipment or improved entrance security.

The Clark County School District Police Department’s annual budget is less than $15 million. To put an officer in every school would require the department to at least quadruple its spending. In other words, it would need the entire $50 million Boxer proposes making available to the entire country.

It’s a typical federal approach: Borrow money, make the states beg for it, pick a handful of winners, create dependency and spread the costs to everyone.

Boxer’s idea is a joke.

Tax the rich!

Former state Sen. Sheila Leslile is as liberal as ever after losing to Reno Republican Greg Brower in November.

In a Wednesday speech billed as a state of the state address from the far-left Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Leslie panned Nevada’s regressive tax code, which has high sales, tobacco and motor vehicle registration levies. She claimed the poor pay 10 percent of their income toward state and local taxes, while the rich pay only 1.5 percent. She called for massive tax hikes on the rich and corporations.

“Nevada should be an economic paradise. Instead, we have … a gap between the rich and the poor that’s wider than at any time since the Gilded Age.”

I think her numbers are exaggerated – throw in property taxes, insurance premium taxes and every other tax outside of gaming and sales that bites Nevadans, and the “rich” pay considerably more than 1.5 percent. And those vile corporations – the entities that employ Nevadans – pay property, payroll and unemployment taxes, just to name a few.

Leslie’s implication is that Nevada’s wealth must be redistributed. As a former lawmaker, you would think she’d know where tax money already goes.

In fact, upper-middle and upper-class households overwhelmingly subsidize public services for the middle and lower classes. Suburban public schools are the worst-funded campuses in the state. Low-income schools get the most tax money. Police, welfare, health care, social services – you name it – all subsidized by higher-income households that get little back from or don’t use the public services they pay for.

The poor and middle class get their tax money back and then some. Giving them even more government at someone else’s expense won’t produce the “paradise” Leslie envisions.

Glenn Cook (gcook@reviewjournal.com) is a Review-Journal editorial writer. Follow him on Twitter: @Glenn_CookNV. Listen to him Mondays at 4 p.m. on “Live and Local with Kevin Wall” on KXNT News Radio, 100.5 FM, 840 AM.

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