Due to overwhelming turnout at the January 29, 2011 budget townhall meeting, it was impossible for everyone to speak individually to the committee. To allow all concerned citizens to have their voice heard, the Legislature provided a way for additional testimony to be submitted.
Below are just a few of the testimonies that poured in from across Nevada.
Implementing Sandoval’s budget would destroy–not just change–destroy
education in this state, both K12 and higher ed. It will also pull
even more of the safety net for Nevada citizens than has already been
pulled, with devastating effects on peoples LIVES.
I teach in this state. I tell my students that if you want to determine the priorities
and values of a state or country, look at the budget. When I look at
this dreadful document, I can reach one and only one conclusion: this
is a state that does not care–at all–about its citizens.
Please find the courage to do the right thing, future elections notwithstanding.
Give us real leadership. Find sources of additional funding.
- Leah Wilds, Reno
I would like to urge to consider VERY strongly any further cuts to
higher education in Nevada. The cuts proposed in the Governor’s new
budget will amount to a 40% cut over the past 4 years. Such cuts will
insure that the higher ed system in NV will literally be decades in
recovering, if it recovers at all. I work at CSN and the 70% rise in
tuition that has been proposed to help cover the cuts will simply
devastate us as well as all the other community colleges in the state.
Our faculties work harder for less pay than any other higher ed
institutions in the state and we pride ourselves on being the
“last resort” for many of our students, in terms of EVER
receiving the training, skills, and education they will need to compete
in the future.
I’m personally proud to be a junior college graduate as I would never
have been able to afford attending college otherwise. I would hate to
see future generations deprived of the opportunities I received. The
proposed cuts will insure that this nightmare scenario comes true for
far, far too many of our young (and not so young) citizens.
- Dr. Harold Nations, Las Vegas
I am close to finishing my degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. I
will graduate December 2011 with a Wildlife Ecology & Conservation
degree. Financially, every year has been a struggle for me. My parents
are unable to help me very much financially, if at all. I depend on
scholarships, grants and loans to pay for school. Every year I’ve had
to take more and more out, putting me in greater debt, all so I can get
a degree at the college I love. I was born and raised in Nevada and I
had hoped to spend my life here, but I can barely finish school and
once I leave, the outlook for jobs does not look good. I was actually
given advice by someone at a certain federal department for Nevada that
I would have a much higher chance of getting a job if I left the state.
All that aside, I am almost done. It will be hard. I will have debts to
pay. But I’ll make it – I’ll skid by. But I have three younger brothers
living in Las Vegas. They are 14, 13 and 10 years old. They’ve seen me
go to college, seen the things I’ve done here, and they already want
that for themselves. It is terrifying and sad to me to know that when
they finally graduate high school, going to an IN-STATE college will
seem like an un-scalable mountain for them. Even if they were to stay
at home, they might not be able to afford it. This may lead them to
leave the state (as it will many others). When in-state tuition is just
as high as out of state tuition somewhere else, why stay in this state
when it looks, to all of us, like it’s failing from the outside in?
Unfortunately, if they don’t have the money for in-state tuition, my
brothers won’t have money for out of state tuition.They cannot pay
these astronomical bills.
These budget cuts will absolutely destroy the system of higher
education in Nevada. Our schools will be worthless. Just big buildings
filled with struggling students, unable to study what they really want
- but unable to do anything else. Nevada is in trouble, and destroying
higher education is suicide. No one will come here, no one will stay
here, and eventually our biggest tourist draw will be the Largest Ghost
Towns in the United States. Drive Safely!
- Rachel Clayson, Reno
I am a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Reno. I am majoring in
political science and environmental studies. With the last budget cuts,
my environmental studies major was cut, however, I am able to take the
classes that are left and substitute other classes for the ones that no
longer exist so I can still get my degree. If there are further budget
cuts to higher education in our state, the remaining environmental
studies classes will cease to exist. The work I have done thus far, in
the field, will be useless if I can not complete my degree. I want to
go to law school for environmental law and labor and employment law. We
already have one of the worst education systems in the country and we
can not afford to lose more funding. The students are the future of the
state, the country, and the world. We need an education and can not do
that without funding. Please do not reduce the budget more than it has
already been cut, it will be a devastating mistake.
- Stephanie, Reno
I am a retired person living on a “fixed income.” I am
fortunate that I do not have to worry about losing a job or losing my
house. I am one of the lucky ones, but I care about those who are
having a difficult time right now. I care about those who need the
help of state programs for medical help or staying in their own homes.
I care about our school children, teachers and college students. I
know that I can afford to pay a few more dollars in taxes. I am
willing to do that IF large businesses and mining also pay a few more
dollars in taxes. I urge the legislature to listen to the majority of
people in the state who see the need for both cuts and new sources of
- Carol Wood, Las Vegas
I have 43 students in my 5th period class. Class is 52 minutes long.
Education cannot be an assembly line.
Budget cuts will result in more students being overlooked, and even
more students dropping off the belt!
- Tari Hawks, Las Vegas
Ultimately, we in Nevada must confront the fact that we can no longer
function in a economic structure that leaves mining industries billions
of dollars in profits untouched while attempting to balance the budget
on the backs of those who no longer have anything to give. We can no
longer expect to have functioning educational systems of any
consequence when teachers who require an MA degree to be in the
classroom can barely make $35,000/year to recoup the cost of their
education. We cannot train the workforce of tomorrow as we gut the few
universities and higher education providers that the state has, nor can
we attract the businesses of the future that might restore growth to
the state. In the end, our legislators must confront narrow
self-interest and make it clear that without real and substantive
change to the failed strategies of the past, none of us has any real
future in the State of Nevada, myself included.
- John, Las Vegas
I am a senior citizen that lives in Fernley, Lyon County. I am quite
concerned about the deteriorating quality of life living here in the
rurals. Services has always been at the minimum here even during good
times, as most of the services seemed to always be centered on the two
urban areas, Las Vegas and Reno, of Nevada. Since this economic
downturn Lyon County in particular has been hard hit. I am one of
hundreds in the town of Fernley that are paying for a upside down
mortgage, but I consider myself lucky given that many of my friends and
neighbors have lost their homes, due to foreclosures or short-sales. I
pay a substantial amount in property taxes, well above what in my mind
is fair and equitable, given the downturn of the actual value of my
- Dina Porter, Fernley
I am a registered and active voter. I am also a licensed medical social
worker who primarily provides home-based services to our senior
population in the Reno/Sparks area. I have lived in Nevada for 11 years
and have witnessed the severe toll that the recession has taken on our
seniors. Services such as meals on wheels, CHIP waiver services,
Lifeline, respite care and adult daycare are more difficult to access
due to reduced budgets. We cannot afford to cut these services further
as it would result in greater hardship for these seniors and their
family members, many of whom are struggling to care for their aged
parents while working full-time jobs and raising their own children.
Many of our seniors are able to remain in the home and community
setting—and avoid costly longterm placement in nursing
homes—because of the services funded by our state government.
- Mary, Reno
Thank you both for attending the committee hearing this past weekend at
the Grant Sawyer building. It was a great experience, not only for
myself but for my Nevada Youth Coalition (NVYC) Members as well.
I brought over 25 members of the NVYC with me to those hearings, 5 of
whom chose to speak and testify in front of the committee. Even though
they were nervous, they put their names down and began to prepare their
The debate over the proposed budget cuts demanded the faces and the
voices of these young people, because they’re the ones with the most to
lose. They’re the ones who will feel how deeply these cuts will go if
they’re allowed to pass. Most importantly, if these cuts are allowed to
pass, they’re going to be the ones who will have to struggle to get
ahead when every possible obstacle has been placed in their way.
I am grateful, both as a Nevadan and as the leader of the Nevada Youth
Coalition, that I can count on my representatives to stand up for the
kids that I’m proud to call members of the NVYC.
It’s their testimony that should give you motivation and offer you the
courage to stand up for education in our state. Remember their words
while you’re in Carson City, but we’re all looking forward to seeing
you both once again very soon in the chambers of the capitol.
“Tell Governor Sandoval to stop living in his fantasy land”
“I’m a good kid, I wouldn’t be here today if I wasn’t. Education
is important to me.”
“How do you expect me to be a productive member of society if I
can hardly go to school?”
“I love Nevada, I want to go to school here, but I might have to
“You will be hearing from me again, this will not be the last time
that you see me. Thank you.”
-Leo Murrieta, North Las Vegas
I am a native Nevadan who grew up in Las Vegas. I was present at the
townhall hearing held Saturday, January 29th but did not address you at
that time. I’m writing to ask that when you consider what cuts and
consolidations to make with the state budget, you do everything humanly
possible to protect education.
Although we (as a state) have talked about the need to diversify our
industry for nearly two decades, we have yet to make a serious attempt
to do it. Without a good education system, we will be unable to attract
many new businesses to our state nor produce qualified workers for them
Raising taxes may not be popular but it is warranted in this case.
People looking for a good environment to raise a family and put down
roots are more concerned with the community than they are the tax
structure. Businesses may have a product but they also have a family.
What we need to do is provide them with competent workers, an excellent
education system, competitive industry, and a sense of community. Build
it – and they will come.
We will never achieve all that we claim to want if we don’t make
education our number one priority. Please, no cuts to education.
- Marla Turner, Las Vegas
I am a lifelong Nevadan and mother of two small children. This budget
does not give my children access to the same stellar educational
opportunities that I enjoyed growing up in southern Nevada. This is
unfair. Mayor Goodman has done an outstanding job of attracting the
creative and business class to downtown Las Vegas–now it’s your job to
keep them here. All you have to do is fund our schools and universities
at an adequate level. This way, these creative and business-minded
people will have no reason not to move their families to southern
Nevada. More businesses moving to Nevada = more tax revenue to fund the
educational system. The proposed budget not only stifles our current
students, but ensures that our revenue-collecting system will remain in
the red for the foreseeable future.
- Lauren Beattie, Las Vegas
I’ve served as an enforcement supervisor for NVOSHA for 16 years, 29
years total with NVOSHA. This is a pressure job and we end up under
oath in court. Gov.Sandoval’s concept of shared sacrifice rings hollow.
My W2 is $12 K less than 2009′s. With no overtime (you can do it for
free) and have had my longevity pay taken away in an unfair fashion.
That reduction is not 5%.Our salaries are noncompetitive compared to
city-county and the Feds. Benefits are worse each year. I’m an UNR
Grad, BS and MS and use my education for the protection of all
Nevadan’s. We are last in education funding in the USA. Our agency
can’t keep talent. Who will try to protect Nevadan’s from chemical
plant releases, fires, and explosions in the future? Who will educate
staff and inspire them? Sandoval’s plan forces me out. Mining will take
$8-10 billion out of our state and the LCB estimates the state’s gold
tax to be $28 million or so. Something is wrong. The top ten sources of
industrial air pollution are our gold mines. We get the shaft they get
- Rich Meier, Sparks
The middle class has lost their homes, or seen home values plummet
and we didn’t create those problems. The banks and all the large corporations
and big businesses should be paying their share–not the middle class, who
the legislature want to take from, and take from, and take from again every
service we pay our taxes for. Why would any business want to come to a state
that has no educated work-force, no libraries, no mental-health services, whose
children receive the lowest health services and whose governor has the
only idea to give to the rich and take from the middle and lower classes?
- Alice, Henderson
I am the Immigration Program Manager at Catholic Charities of Northern
Nevada and I am a University of Nevada, Reno alum. Serving the
immigrant community throughout Northern Nevada, I understand just how
critical it is to maintain human services. Without current state and
county programs, many immigrants will be forced into a situation even
more desperate and destitute than that in which they currently find
themselves. It is imperative that we maintain these services so that
our immigrant community may thrive and succeed, helping to fuel
On a personal note, I would like to note that I am in the middle of the
law school admissions process. I am proud to say that I have already
been accepted to a number of law schools, one of which is UNLV’s Boyd
School of Law. Unfortunately, the quality and existence of the law
school is now in jeopardy due to budget cuts. I hope that my chances at
a quality legal education in Nevada are not jeopardized by Governor
- Ryan Brewer, Reno