Why all the strings, feds?

If the federal government was really interested in stimulating the economy, and helping our state back on its feet, it would seem there would be less concern about how the states are spending the money they get.

Gov. Jim Gibbons brought the issue to a head by seeking a waiver of Nevada's requirements to get education stimulus money.

The U.S. Department of Eduation is seeking $268 million from the state before it will turn over $396 million in stimulus funding for public schools and higher education.

If the federal government approves the waiver, then the state won't have to find a way to restore that money to the budget. That means the state will have $128 million extra for higher education, or about five times the annual cost to run Western Nevada College for a year.

But if the state has to restore the $268 million to qualify for the stimulus money, that money will have to come out of another source, and there just aren't that many places to get it.

The federal money would replace that cut from the university budget, if it just went there, but it doesn't.

It's divided up between public and higher education, and it's just one-shot money. That means that unless the economy turns around in a hurry, the Legislature and governor will be right back here in two years.

It seems to us that the federal government would be at least as willing to treat the states with the same leeway they gave Wall Street bankers. At least the state' expenditures have to go through private watchdogs.


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