I am a single, unemployed mother. I was laid off from my administrative job in the construction industry, which prompted me to go back to school. I wanted to create a better life for myself by retooling through educational opportunities like so many other displaced Nevadans.
I have been working with the College of Southern Nevada to bring more green energy opportunities to our campuses, to aid in making our great state into the Renewable Energy Capital of the World, as Governor Sandoval claims is his goal. I had this same idea this year, having remembered seeing Austin, Texas boom after being coined the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Though there were points that I agreed with Governor Sandoval in his State of the State address, there are many things with which I disagree with him.
The issue I most disagreed with was his proposal to cut higher education by 17.66 percent. Coupled with the 5 percent cut to employees, we are really looking at a 22 percent cut. Though he claims that there is no connection between education funding and performance, I tend to dissent. Higher education has already been cut at least 17% in the past few years and somehow the system of higher education has managed to maintain excellent quality and standards. However, student fees keep increasing, tuition keeps on going up and fewer classes are available, which limits accessibility and opportunities for Nevadans to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps to create a better life and a brighter future.
In order to turn Nevada into the Renewable Energy Capital of the World, we will need to invest more in our education system. We need to institute more programs that will allow for this vision to be enacted. We need to show the businesses around the country that we have an educated and skilled population in place, ready and willing to work. All this takes money.
Governor Sandoval’s vision is fantastic but it does not add up. You cannot build Nevada’s workforce in a new industry without investing in education. That goes for K-12 and higher education.
This means actually sharing in the sacrifice, not in the way Governor Sandoval proposes where the people who are most struggling continue to struggle even more; we have to enhance state revenues. Consider imposing a broad based business tax, with an exemption for small businesses. Let the huge mega companies like Wal-Mart and Starbucks share the sacrifice. They will not even notice a tax that they pay in every other state. We cannot sacrifice our education, the future of the people of Nevada, just so that these multinational corporations can maximize their profit margins.
Let us be real here, the tax would be a drop in the bucket. It would not even be a sacrifice to them. Regardless, what is the likelihood that Wal-Mart will leave Nevada because we ask them to share the sacrifice? As the system currently stands, we sacrifice our education system for no benefit.
Education is an investment in the future; it is the solution to our economic woes. It is the way to create a Nevada that is not susceptible to the peaks and valleys we continually suffer because our economy is built primarily on gaming and tourism, leaving our state budget dependent on these volatile sources and a regressive sales tax. Governor Sandoval has the right idea – we must diversify our economy. However we cannot do that if we sacrifice our education system. Our leaders need to make the tough decisions and do what it takes to create the necessary funds to prevent this.Tweet