By Tina Davis
We are in the midst of a global pandemic, faced with a new virus that is not well understood. Millions of people worldwide will die, and thousands of those will be Nevadans. Nevada also faces severe coronavirus-related economic impacts, devastating housing and healthcare impacts, and increasing social and environmental justice concerns.
It is unconscionable that health care and education are the first arenas to which budget cuts are being proposed. When thousands are faced with job losses and related loss of health insurance, not to mention the costs of hospitalization in the wake of a COVID-19 diagnosis, cutting Medicaid and other health care services will cause even more harm to those already in dire straits.
As teachers will be required to teach in-class and online as well, and as students will be mired in the middle of the biggest educational crisis in many generations, cutting the education budget will not help Nevada teachers and staff to educate our students to the level they deserve. This virus will only continue to inflict wide-ranging pain we cannot yet begin to comprehend.
I implore the Legislature and Gov. Sisolak to find alternatives to defunding the important services that always seem to be cut when we face budget shortfalls in this state. Instead of punishing families in the middle and lower income tiers with these regressive cuts, let’s ask mining companies and other large corporations to pay their fair share by implementing increased taxes on those entities.
Nevada corporations and mining interests (many foreign owned or from a different state) continue to make millions of dollars that often are not kept in Nevada, and thus do not benefit the residents of our state. At the very least, mining interests could have some of their numerous tax deductions eliminated. We should also consider removing the cap from mineral taxes altogether. Most Nevadans have had to pay dearly because of this pandemic’s economic impacts. It’s only fair that mining companies pay their fair share, too.
Please also consider taxing personal incomes over one million dollars. We should be looking to the future and making investments that will carry us through not only the current situation, but years ahead. Making the wealthy and corporations invest in our state will help us all in the long run.
We need to put Nevada and Nevadans first. Many of us have lost jobs and are suffering. Cuts to health care and education will only make this difficult situation worse for many. Please do not cause greater harm to those Nevadans already struggling during the pandemic.
Tina Davis is a Reno resident and member of the Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter Executive Committee.