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WEEKLY EDITORIAL RECAP

By the numbers

Tuesday

One of the few voices of fiscal sanity in Carson City has once again provided a much-needed perspective on the state’s budget crunch.

State Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas — anticipating many of his colleagues will be itching to raise taxes during the 2009 session — noted last week that even if the state is forced to maintain a no-growth general fund in the coming years, the bureaucracy will have done just fine for itself over recent history.

Consider that in 1996, state general fund revenues totaled $1.204 billion. By 2007 — just more than a decade later — that figure had skyrocketed to $3.169 billion. Even if projected revenues for the next two fiscal years are adjusted to reflect more pessimistic economic forecasts, the state is expected to pocket $3.048 billion in 2009.

That’s a 253 percent increase over the past 13 years!

Meanwhile, Sen. Beers, notes on his blog, between 2003 and 2007 the Consumer Price Index increased 13.3 percent and Nevada’s population rose by 23 percent.

State budget growth? Seventy-four percent, fueled by the largest tax hike in Nevada history.

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 — but they’re not the kind of numbers you’ll hear from big government types and their media cheerleaders.

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