Check Out Our Sports Photo Galleries Contact Us
Columnist tells whole truth
by Jake Highton
May 20, 2012 | 1079 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hugh Jackson is the best political columnist in Nevada. He tells the blunt truth, sparing no one.

Other political journalists in Nevada report varnished truths. Jackson’s truth is unvarnished.

Here are some recent gleanings from a Jackson column:

• “Nevada spends less per capita on higher education then most states in the country.”

• “Nevada spends less on public education (K-12) as well.”

• “Nevada has one of the thinnest health and social service networks in the country.”

• “With neither a business nor personal income tax, the state’s perpetually inadequate revenue stream relies more than anything else on sales taxes.” Sales taxes are regressive, “the lower your income, the higher percentage of your income you pay in sales taxes.”

(Nevada also relies heavily on “hidden taxes” as I was reminded recently by renewing my car registration at the DMV. Fee: $33. Government services tax [hidden]: $136.)

• “Nevada’s gambling tax on the world’s largest casino-hotel corporations is the smallest in the nation.”

• “Nevada’s constitutionally enshrined pittance of a mining tax is a loophole-ridden offense against fairness.”

• “The rest of the state’s largest industries pay hardly any taxes at all. A flat rate assures that the likes of Walmart and Bank of America pay the same property tax rate as Nevada homeowners.”

• “Nevada is at the bottom of all the good lists and atop the bad.”

State Sen. Bill Raggio died recently, prompting copious sobs in the press. But columnist Jackson, defying the press rule de mortuis nil nisi bonum, blistered Raggio:

“Raggio, perhaps more than any other Nevadan in history, exemplified Nevada’s long, and strangely proud, tradition of anti-democratic, special-interest-friendly, back-room politics.

“Raggio wasn’t merely a key player in Nevada’s good old boy network. He was the good old boy, the standard by which good old boys were measured.”

Workers suffer

State workers in the budget-straitened regime of Gov. Brian Sandoval continue to take a pounding: pay cuts, forced furloughs, lost merit pay and lost longevity pay.

Dennis Myers, news editor of the Reno News & Review, points outs that “some state workers are now eligible for public assistance.” Many are also abandoning a floundering ship.

Sandoval is aware of the “sacrifices made by state employees over the past several years” but he clings to his mantra: no new taxes.

As Andy Barbano, fellow Trib columnist, noted recently: “A distinguished educator years ago testified before a legislative committee that because of his low salary he could not qualify for a car loan after his auto was totaled in an accident. Now, the entire Nevada education system is being totaled.”

Sandoval to blame

Nevada college campuses have been shattered. K-12 teachers in Clark County are among the lowest paid in the nation.

No wonder historian Jim Hulse years ago called Nevada “a state without a conscience.” It still has none under Sandoval.

Nevada is mired near the bottom in things that matter.

It will probably be until the 22nd century before a candidate for Nevada governor will have the courage to call for more taxes and be elected.

Student debt

College loan debt has soared to $1 trillion, yet Republican obstructionists in Congress couldn’t care less.

The rate on student loans, 3.4 percent, will go back to 6.8 percent July 1 if the GOP has its way.

House Republicans say the nation cannot afford the $6 billion a year the lower rate would cost the Treasury. Nonsense. The government spends trillions a year for endless and senseless wars. Its military budget is humongous.

More than seven million students have federally subsidized loans. As the New York Times editorialized recently: “Nothing is more important to this country’s future than ensuring a good education for coming generations.”

True. But a civilized nation would provide free college education.

Pulitzer snub

The Pulitzer Prize board for the second time in five years refused to award a prize for editorial writing. Rightly so.

As one blogger concluded: “unsigned editorials have become a worthless anachronism.” Dan Gillmor, media analyst, put his finger on the problem: “They’re verbal Valium.”

Editorials are the product of group think. That’s why they are vapid and useless.

Editorials are the voice of an august community institution. Therefore they lack the passion, power and provocativeness of individual writers.

Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be contacted at
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
Featured Businesses