“I think I just saw a one-termer, so keep your powder dry” – Paul Laxalt
That’s what former Nevada governor and then-US Senator Ronald Reagan advised after President Jimmy Carter’s first State of the Union address in 1977.
Newbie Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo’s speech Monday night showed signs of an immediate repeat. The precedent is much closer to home.
Lopmbardo’s maiden voyage reminded me of Governor Jim “The Dim” Gibbons (2007-2011), who ruled with his penis, not his head. I don’t need to remind Nevadans of the Dimbulbs Speech nightmare, but Lombardo does resemble Gibbons in one important way: he serves cold Reaganomics leftovers.
He began his speech by calling for personal responsibility, the Reagan code for “If you need help, you’re on your own.”
Lombardo inherits a rich treasury from his Democratic predecessor Steve Sisolak.
The first bang out of the box after the swearing came Lombardo’s request for all Nevada authorities to give him their top 10 regulations to scrap. He would do well to take the advice of author Jeff Greenfield. Analyzing Carter’s worst mistakes, the government’s time-consuming reorganization topped the list.
Like Gibbons, Lombardo offers rehashed, recycled, and discredited Reaganomics. You know the drill: tax cuts boost the economy.
He said he was suspending the state’s gas tax, though most likely he had no power to do so. The gas tax is onerous and regressive and has not been levied for many years. Without massive government deficit spending, Nevada’s roads would be in worse shape than they are.
But it sounded good on TV.
Perhaps the most outrageous were Giuseppe’s sins of omission. Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizaro, D-Gomorrah South, rightly noted that he was not calling for teacher increases. He advocated an 8 percent and 4 percent increase in civil servants over the next two years. That’s below inflation and comes nowhere near repairing the paltry levels that public servants have suffered from for decades.
This has resulted in one in four government jobs remaining vacant. That might sound great financially, but not when you need highway patrol or work in a Nevada prison.
Like all ex-cops, Giuseppe supported badass criminals and demanded heavier sentences for various things, but not guns. That will further pack Nevada prisons into a state with an incarceration rate always worthy of the Confederate South.
We can’t get enough jailers because of government pay. Dozens of Ely prisoners went on a hunger strike last month.
Lumbago said his proposed pay rises would prevent the state government from being a training ground for local governments, which pay much better. Good luck with it.
Lombardo even slammed Harry Reid with faint praise, mentioning the former US Senate Majority Leader at the bottom of a list of recently deceased former state legislators. Yes, chief, Harry only served one term in the congregation. But Joe ignored his four years as Deputy Governor of the State Senate. Great.
Lombardo’s only elective office was two terms as Sheriff of Gomorrah South, where he relieved officers. Sheriffs are often CEOs who have a “my way or the highway” mindset. That doesn’t work, herding government cats.
Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn (1999-2007) came into office with a similar stormy mindset. Dudley Do-Right quickly learned that no matter how angry you get at subordinates, your elected counterparts don’t have to do what you say.
Lombardo said he will be a school choice advocate for the state government for the first time. If Kenny Guinn were alive, he would be rolling in his grave. And is longtime former MP Pat Hickey, R-Reno, chopped liver? Years ago he sponsored Nevada’s first Charter School Bill.
Lombardo and staff have memory problems. Hear him praising the Las Vegas Grand Prix Formula 1 race later this year. Guv, you were a cop in Vegas at a lot of F-1 races a quarter century ago. Caesar’s Palace built a course in its parking lot.
Lombardo’s worst sin of omission lay at the source of much of the money he plans to distribute: that nasty, deficit-spending federal government.
He boasted that Nevada had the second smallest per capita number of federal employees. (We’ve been number one for decades and I can’t find anything to the contrary, but who am I to disagree with the boss?)
After saying “we will not rely on federal bailouts,” he called for the abolition of mandatory health insurance, which previous Democratic parliaments have passed. Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval (2011-2019) defied Republican malice by expanding Nevada Medicaid with federal money.
And Giuseppe wants to complete the removal of COVID-19 security measures. He has already obliterated all of Sisolak’s orders and wants to repeal the law mandating security in hotels and casinos.
“It already has a built-in sunset when COVID rates drop,” said Culinary Union 226 spokeswoman Bethany Kahn. The union pushed ahead with the 2020 law.
The boss said, “The pandemic is behind us.” Taurus. Look how many are infected and dying not only here but worldwide. But hey, facts are bad for tourism and twisting them never hurt Donald Trump.
Lombardo and associates have tiptoed over Sisolak’s order not to assist states like Texas in prosecuting Nevada abortion brokers or patients. Women across the country have fled the Confederacy to seek medical care in fewer Neanderthal states. Governor, abortion tourism is a growing market for your biggest supporters on the Strip.
I felt a bit embarrassed for the man when he had to beg for applause a few times. Perhaps he needed to install a TV studio-style audience applause sign to alert attendees when to clap. To his credit, he displayed a sense of humor rare among governors when he made a mistake.
For example, when he advocated “partisanship” instead of “partnership” in critical water supplies.
He admitted that “the Nevada government has more money than we can responsibly spend.” He didn’t say we should send the surplus back to where it came from, that despicable federal government. This is Nevada’s second largest employer after the gaming industry.
return money? Sure you’re joking. As usual, why not spend a large part on the well-being of companies? If he manages to testify in a California court, the governor announced that Musk will venture here to accept huge new subsidies to expand his Nevada holdings to support electric truck manufacturing.
Lombardo has vaguely acknowledged that local governments should receive some of the benefits of corporate welfare subsidies, but failed to mention how this might be done. Tax breaks take huge sums of money away from schools, parks, roads and first responders.
Stay healthy, be enchanted and pray for Ukraine and 53 other countries currently war-torn.
Be good. Move hell. / Este bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 54-year-old Nevada native and editor of NevadaLabor.com/ Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. Email [email protected]
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