Thursday, January 31, 2008

Money - Brilliance and Stupidity

Logic and Illogic

Why didn't I think of that? Today's local newspaper's editorial page had a letter from Las Vegan Bob Hartman. I don't know him, how long he has been in Las Vegas, or anything else about him but I tip my mortarboard to him. Hartman came up with a suggestion to address the budget shortfall in Nevada. As he puts it, "This may be too simple for the Legislature and governor..."

But before we reveal this brilliant plan, let me refresh your memory. Last week the projected budget shortfall was put at $ 564 million. Others have projected less, but let's take that figure.
The Guv has proposed cutting budgets by some 8 percent. That includes budgets of K-12 schools which are already in the bottom 10% in the nation in funding. It also includes cuts to Health and Human Services and Higher Education, both of which are severely underfunded like K-12. Total cuts just among those three entities exceeds $ 231 million plus the loss of another $ 40 million in federal matching funds to HHS if budgets are reduced.

The Guv has refused to raise taxes, has ignored suggestions to tap the "rainy day fund" and has ignored other suggestions. Hartman suggests adding on a $ 1.00 per night surcharge for every room rented. With a statewide room count of about 130,000 and 90% occupancy, the surcharge would yield nearly $ 43 million in a year. A $ 2.00 surcharge would yield nearly $ 86 million. My vote for State Budget Director goes to Mr. Hartman.

NCAA pretends to come clean: We have railed against the NCAA and their predatory practices against athletes in the past. College athletes, especially in the so-called revenue-generating sports of football and basketball are too often Gladiators courted by schools more concerned with the bottom line than the academic best interest of the athlete. The indentured servitude lasts for four or five years during which time an NCAA violation occurs if a scholarship athlete accepts a free t-shirt, meal, or any other so-called "extra benefit" not available to the student body in general.

The payoff for the athlete, says the NCAA is a college degree which is earned in many cases by fewer than half of the Gladiators. The NCAA lives in grand style off the spoils produced by the Gladiators. Plush offices and frequent travel to meetings, fine food in only the best hotels are but a few of the perks enjoyed by NCAA members. TV contracts, licensing agreements and bowl payouts provide hundreds of millions of dollars to NCAA schools and administrations. Coaches earn millions. Players earn peanuts.

A teeny-weeny pushback occurred when four athletes filed a class action lawsuit. But the NCAA, fearing a lawsuit might bring further scrutiny agreed to a settlement of $ 10 million - a drop in the bucket compared to revenue produced by the athletes. NCAA sources show revenue of
$ 564 million for the 2006-07 year. Each of the five BCS Bowl games paid out $ 17 million. The NCAA got off easy. I can hardly wait for the next class action.

A little blogging music maestro.... "Money for Nothing," by Dire Straits.

Dr. Forgot

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