Letter to Assembly Democrats

Dear Members of the Assembly Majority:

Pardon me for sending this e-mail to you all simultaneously, but I just wanted to send you a quick “thank you” for your vote today on limiting the budget cuts for higher education to 5%. I know this vote is not binding, but nonetheless it is a bright light in a very dark tunnel.

We know this is a difficult time for you all, as you try to cope with the need to provide an essential level of public services to the state in spite of the fact that we are no longer collecting as many taxes as we had planned for, and in spite of the Governor’s unwillingness to recognize the problem for what it actually is. Nevada has a very small state government, a very undiversified tax base that has declined much more than our overall economy, and a small number of very vocal people that oppose anything government does even though they rely on those services.

As you know, higher education took the deepest cuts in the last session, and we have been trying our best to cope with these cuts and provide a quality education as our student enrollments continue to increase. We have been trying to be good citizens and do our part, and we recognize the need for supporting K-12 and providing other public services. We have tried to keep our morale high so that we can retain our most productive faculty, and keep them from leaving the state. Like our colleagues in other NSHE institutions, we want to continue to be part of a university that Nevada can be proud of, to help keep our brightest minds in state and attract more business to Nevada.

This last month, that effort has sometimes seemed insurmountable, as many faculty have come to think that this state no longer values higher education.

I speak for my faculty in saying that your vote today gives us hope that maybe there is a future for higher education in Nevada. Maybe there is hope that we can help Nevada become part of the 21st Century economy, and Nevada can continue to become a better place to live.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance as you do this difficult work.

Sincerely,

Elliott Parker, Ph.D.
Faculty Senate Chair
Professor of Economics /0030
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557-0207 U.S.A.
http://www.business.unr.edu/faculty/parker/



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