A short course on state issues and financing

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The next legislature will face some big issues and there will be no lack of input from lobbyists and special interest groups.

However, without the time or background to understand what is going on, the average citizen may find it difficult to join that conversation. However, that could be changing.

It's called a Report to our Citizens and it's a new, easy intro to the big issues facing the state and the funding choices that will have to be made.

State Controller Kim Wallin hopes it will bring the average citizen into the process of deciding how to tackle those issues.

When the Nevada legislature next meets in 2009, it will face a growing list of issues and limited means to tackle them. It will be up to the lawmakers, as it always is to pick priorities, where our state will be headed in the years ahead.

And as always they will have plenty of input from lobbyists and special interest groups.

The needs will be pressing; a growing shortfall in highway construction funds only partially addressed in 2007 will have grown much more. And there will be pressures to increase funding for the state's schools. These issues and others will compete against each other for available funding.

The four-page report to citizens was unveiled on Tuesday in Carson City by State Controller Kim Wallin and a representative of Association of Government accountants.

Think of it as a four-page report card on the state and a primer for voters.

Education and transportation funding and issues are outlined, as are health care.

Wallin hopes voters will read the report and be better equipped when a candidate knocks on their door this coming year.

The report is a concept developed by the Association of Government Accountants.

The organization's executive director says it's all about making government more transparent and accountable.

Only Oregon has done it before us and a few federal agencies and local governments are following. He says there are 88,000 agencies and governments out there.

His association would like to see all those cities, counties and agencies adopt the four-page report concept.

Wallin says she got the idea after attending an AGA meeting and taking a look at the Citizen Asset Report her office usually produces and realizing few people were going to wade through all the pages and numbers.

This four-page report is available through the controller’s office or you can click on Hot Topics on our homepage, where you can find a link to a downloadable PDF file.