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August 30, 2015

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Damon Political Report

Fight for CSN funding akin to fight for freedom in Egypt?

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Senators Ruben Kihuen and John Lee confer during a meeting of a meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth and Employment on the third day of the 2011 legislative session Wednesday, February 9, 2011 in Carson City.

Will boisterous demonstrators fill the streets of Las Vegas to fight for increased funding for the College of Southern Nevada the way demonstrators filled the streets of Cairo to fight for freedom?

One lawmaker thinks so.

Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, warned a committee making decisions on higher education funding that the people would do what they have to do to make sure CSN is equally funded.

“This is going to get to a point that the regents are going to have to take advantage of working with us or we are going to do what we have to do as they did in Egypt and fight for these rights,” Lee said.

Egypt?

Lee didn’t back down when talking to reporters in the hallway after the hearing.

“I’m serious,” he said. “The people need and are dying for the opportunity to figure out how to feed their families. The world’s on fire and now this is something that could cause the same sort of uprising.”

Lee, who owns a plumbing business and just closed a tile business, said he had to lay off “80 guys.” He worries about how they will be retrained to find new work.

Lee believes the funding formula used by the state to distribute funds to each of the higher education’s system discriminates against CSN.

“This body concluded in 2005, CSN starts in a $20 million hole because of the discriminatory treatment of the formula,” he said.

He was further angered by Gov. Brian Sandoval’s decisions to direct county property tax revenue to UNLV and UNR, leaving the community colleges out of that funding stream.

The property tax revenue replaces state funding to those institutions, it doesn’t augment it under Sandoval’s budget.

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