Weekly editorial recap

THURSDAY

TAXPAYER WORKOUT

Cries of a full-fledged budget crisis ring hollow when lawmakers can afford to splurge on exercise equipment and office remodeling — while spurning calls for the creation of a spending-reduction committee.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, who strongly advocates increasing state revenues, spent more than $60,000 in taxpayer money to open a workout room in the Legislative Building and add a conference room to his office.

The Las Vegas Democrat justified the expenditures because lawmakers saved $550,000 by not printing bill drafts on paper. …

But the whole point of identifying efficiencies and making corresponding cuts is to save money, not find new ways to spend it. Nevada households that have suffered financial hardship aren’t treating themselves to new gym memberships as a reward for canceling cable TV. Not when they can take a jog around the block or do push-ups on their own. …

For less than $6,700, Mr. Oceguera could have purchased year-long memberships for all 42 Assembly members at the new Fitness for $10 health club in downtown Carson City. The 20,000-square-foot facility … even opens at 4 a.m.!

As for Mr. Oceguera’s office improvements, was it really necessary for him to spend another $30,000 creating a private space within a private space?

These expenditures, first reported by Nevada conservative activist Chuck Muth, fly in the face of claims that the state has no fat left to cut. And they look silly considering Mr. Oceguera and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, have failed to create a joint legislative committee to identify budget reductions that both parties agree will have to be made.

We need our leaders to exercise wise spending priorities — not exercise on our dime.

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