Silver Dollars & wooden nickels: Budget crisis will affect all, hopefully, equally

The Nevada Appeal's "Silver Dollar" and "Wooden Nickel" feature recognizes positive achievements from the capital region and, when warranted, points out others that missed the mark.

Wooden nickel: The ugly realities of our budget crisis are becoming ever clearer as we hear more about proposed cuts to close the state's

$3 billion budget gap: Property tax rebates for seniors; mental health court; juvenile diversion programs; Nevada State Prison ... all losses that potentially will affect Carson City's residents in profoundly negative ways. The Legislature opens tomorrow, and lawmakers have a monumental challenge ahead of them. We hope ... pray ... no, we demand that they immediately buckle down, work together, debate vigorously but civilly, and come up with solutions that spread the cuts out as fairly as possible. Will everyone be happy? No. Chances are no one will. The best outcome to be hoped for may just be one in which everyone hurts a bit, and no one group hurts too much.

Wooden nickel: The hits just keep on coming for Sen. John Ensign. Shortly after the Justice Department dropped a criminal investigation for his lobbying efforts for his mistress's husband, the Senate ethics committee announced it was appointing a special counsel to look into potential ethics violations. The senator just cannot get out from under the bad press his indiscretions heaped upon him. Looks like 2012 might hold promise for a young congressman looking to move up ...

Wooden nickel: To Senate Majority Leader Stephen Horsford, who pulled a switcheroo on the Interim Finance Committee agenda on Thursday that had 40-some top-level state administrators twiddling their thumbs for more than two hours waiting to complete state budget business. That bit of inefficiency wasted more than a hundred manhours for some highly paid administrators. Bad call, senator.

Silver dollar: To end on an up note: Kudos to Silver Springs teen Katelyn Santiago, who challenged her parents to quit smoking and turned each day they abstain into a fundraiser for her school's service club. Katelyn was moved to act after reading an article in the Nevada Appeal on the dangers of second-hand smoke. We wish her and her parents luck this month, and are pulling for them to kick the habit, and earn her school a lot of money to boot.


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