Archive for February, 2010

Strategy to Avoid Gibbons Vetoes on Tap if Needed

By Sean Whaley | 11:36 am February 25th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Because of the tense relationship between the Legislature and Gov. Jim Gibbons over how to find $900 million to balance the state budget, strategies on how to ensure bills are not vetoed after lawmakers adjourn the special session are ready if needed.

If the Legislature adjourns the special session and Gibbons vetoes one or more bills, the measures could not be considered for an override by lawmakers until the 2011 regular session. A two-thirds vote in both houses is required to override a veto.

Gibbons has already announced his intentions to veto the Race to the Top measure giving Nevada the ability to compete for up to $175 million in federal funds to improve student achievement. The measure, Senate Bill 2, contains language Gibbons opposes.

Gibbons has also said he will veto bills that do not meet his standards for new fees the Legislature may impose to balance the budget. Gibbons has said he will veto such measures unless they meet with the approval of those who must pay the new revenues.

Lawmakers are looking at increased gaming fees, among other proposals.

Gibbons vetoed a record number of bills in the 2009 session. Many were overridden by the Legislature but others were sustained.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said all potential contingencies have been explored to ensure some key piece of legislation needed to balance the budget does not end up vetoed, leaving a hole in the spending plan that Gibbons might then deal with on his own after lawmakers have left town.

“We’re not going to adjourn,” Horsford said with a laugh when asked. “We’ve discussed all of our options. We’re here to get the job done, and we have thought through what all of the potential problems may be.”

Rather than adjourn the session “sine die” and allow the potential veto scenario to arise, Horsford said the Senate, in agreement with the Assembly, can adjourn for a set number of days and then return to the capital to override any vetoed bills if need be.

Gibbons has five days to veto a bill, not counting the day the bill was transmitted to his office, and not counting Sundays. So if the Legislature finishes its special session on Sunday, Gibbons would have until Friday to veto a measure.

Horsford said the Legislature continues to try to work with Gibbons to avoid such a scenario.

“We’re always working towards that goal; whether he sees the value in working with us is another story,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said he is not aware of any such strategy discussions.

“I’m more concerned about doing what we need to do than political strategy,” he said.

“The governor has as much stake as the Legislature in dealing with this shortfall,” Raggio said. “I wouldn’t think anybody would want to put obstacles to meet the constitutional requirement to balancing a budget.”

Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said the Legislature has used such an adjournment process before. In the 21st special session, when the impeachment of the late Controller Kathy Augustine was under way, the session began in November. The Legislature then adjourned until December to give Augustine a chance to prepare a defense to the charges.

Malkiewich, who is an attorney, said he also disagrees with the position of Gibbons that the governor has the authority to set a time to end a special session. That authority rests with the Legislature, he said.

Gibbons spokesman Dan Burns said the governor “knows” he has the right to set an ending time for the session, and he has directed lawmakers to finish by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. Any bills that are passed after that time would not even be considered valid bills, he said.

There is an existing attorney general opinion supporting his position, Burns said.

Rather than worry about end strategies, the Legislature should just move quickly to balance the budget and address the pressing issues, he said.

“Every day they meet is another laid off state worker,” Burns said.

The session is costing $50,000 a day.

Dems Claim Victory on 5% Edu Cuts, $100K-ish Mining Deal Close

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:37 am February 25th, 2010

From Ralston just now:

In a caucus meeting that just concluded, Assembly Democrats, being bombarded by emails from teachers, told their reps up here that 5 percent cuts are a victory. But some of them think no cuts to education would be something to take home. Message to teachers: There is a billion-dollar deficit. I understand it was quite feisty. Will the teachers now shut up and praise the Assembly for cutting the reductions in half? Doubtful.

A couple of legislative leaders tell me the deal with mining is very close. Lawmakers have presented a deal that will add up to close to $100 million, although more than half is an adjusted forecast in net proceeds because of the price of gold that would be paid anyhow (although it will still help bridge the gap). The rest would be made up of fees and prepayments — but the industry has not yet signed off.

Conservative Caucus, GOP Minority Fight to Get Their Views Heard in Special Session

By Sean Whaley | 4:51 pm February 24th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Assembly Republicans, who haven’t had a majority presence in the Legislature in 25 years, are working with their Senate colleagues in the special session in an effort to get their views heard on how to solve a $900 million budget shortfall.

Senate Republicans, who are in the minority themselves in the upper house for the first time since 1991, nevertheless have some leverage in the budget debate.

The GOP caucus in the Assembly stands at 14 members, one shy of the number needed to block a two-thirds vote on fee or tax increases. Fee increases are very much a part of the discussion of how to balance the budget.

Senate Democrats, however, have only 12 of the 14 votes they need to approve such measures. So Republican support is essential if a tax or fee increase is to be part of the budget solution.

A two-thirds vote is also required to override a veto. Gov. Jim Gibbons has threatened to use his veto authority if a measure comes to him that does not fit in with his views on such revenue enhancements. Gibbons had indicated he will only support such increases if the affected industries agree to the levy.

A new wrinkle for the 23 GOP lawmakers in the two houses, however, as the special session moves through its second day, is a subset of Republicans who want to bring their own plan forward on how to balance the budget, a plan that would not rely on fees or taxes but cuts.

The effort is a work in progress.

Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, said her caucus recognizes the number disadvantage and the need to work with Senate Republicans to gain leverage.

“Pete Goichoechea, (R-Eureka) and I attend quite a few leadership meetings to make sure our voices are heard,” she said. “We’re very focused on cuts right now. There are a lot of pieces that seem to be coming together. We’re really trying to figure out what the whole package is.

“We have not come to any consensus, particularly on the new fee and revenue items in the budget,” Gansert said.

Gansert said the caucus is interested in taking a look at Nevada’s collective bargaining law to see if it can at least be altered to require public employee contract negotiations to be subjected to the state Open Meeting Law. The process involves taxpayer money and the public should be involved in the process, she said.

Gibbons, who saw a couple of his budget-balancing proposals fall by the wayside today, amended the proclamation calling the Legislature into special session to consider Nevada’s collective bargaining law, among several other items.

Gibbons’ proposal to raise $50 million by revising the mining tax deduction, and a plan to use traffic cameras to catch uninsured motorists that reportedly would have raised $30 million, were both rejected by lawmakers.

Both these issues were problematic for some in the GOP caucus, so seeing them taken off the table simplifies the ideological concerns, at least for the time being. Their elimination also creates an $80 million gap in the budget plan, however.

Gansert said she retains strong support in the caucus for her service as minority leader, despite a comment by Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, that Gansert is too willing to compromise with Democrats. Hambrick’s comment was reported in the Reno Gazette-Journal on Tuesday.

Assemblyman Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said his caucus is benefiting from a national shift to the right in the political climate.

“So the pendulum swings, and just because you are low today doesn’t mean you won’t be high tomorrow,” he said.

The last time Republicans had a strong presence in the lower house was in 1995, when there was a 21-21 split requiring a power-sharing arrangement. Lynn Hettrick, now a deputy chief of staff to Gibbons, was GOP co-speaker in that session.

In a twist of political irony, Hettrick’s present-day successor, Gansert, has contributed to a rift in GOP leadership by joining Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio in endorsing Brian Sandoval over Governor Gibbons in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

A source on the Gibbons’ campaign team acknowledged that Gansert and Raggio’s support of the governor’s opponent along with Raggio’s recent support of Sandoval’s proposal to sell and lease back state buildings in order to generate revenue – a plan the Governor strongly opposes – has infuriated Gibbons and contributed to the recent war of words between the governor’s office and Raggio as budget talks have progressed.

Despite the contentious tone between the governor’s office and Republican legislative leadership and the numbers disadvantage, Assembly Republicans are trying to remain involved, Hardy said. “We still get to ask questions. We still have a voice.”

Hardy said the Senate GOP caucus has been willing to listen to Assembly Republicans, but he acknowledges there are no easy answers to the current fiscal crisis.

“It’s not so much good ideas right now (but) which is the least of the worst ideas,” he said.

Hardy praised Gansert’s leadership, calling her performance “excellent.”

While there is a view by many Republicans that the current budget problems should not be solved through the imposition of new fees and taxes, Hardy said his own position is to accept such solutions if they are acceptable to the affected industries or interest groups.

Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, said the Assembly caucus has been encouraged to participate in the leadership discussions on how to solve the budget gap.

Senate Republicans, because of the two-thirds vote requirement for tax and fee measures, retains some level of power in the discussion, he said. The Assembly has not had that luxury.

“I told them just because you don’t have the numbers doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the solution,” Townsend said. “But just saying “no” is not being part of the solution. Saying “yes” to everything is not being part of the process either. Jump in and explain the things that are important to you. You may win a few.”

Assemblyman Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, a fiscal conservative who would like to see Nevada adhere to a state spending cap, said balancing the budget with new taxes and fees is not the answer.

The state should use 2001 as the base year and then allow for growth based only on inflation and population growth, he said.

“We’re not going to do that in the special session, but that is what my goal will be,” Gustavson said.

“We are working with Senate Republicans on the budget,” he said. “We met with them last night and had a long discussion. They have a little more pull than we do, obviously.”

Every agency, including public education, will have to take a cut to get the state out of the current crisis, Gustavson said.

Lowden Camp Fires Back After Reid Attack

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:44 pm February 24th, 2010

See the post right below this one for Part 1 of this story.  This is the press release sent out by the Lowden camp in response to the cannon Reid just sent ‘cross their bow:

Harry Reid vs. Private Sector

Reid attacks leading GOP candidate

“When was the last time Harry Reid received a taxpayer funded salary increase, and how many has he received in becoming one of the senate’s most wealthy members?”

… Just asking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: February 24, 2010

(Las Vegas, NV) — Today, Nevada businesswoman and U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden responded to yet another desperate attack from Harry Reid. On a day after he spent another $15 BILLION of our taxpayer money on the assumption that Washington is better at job creation than private citizens, Harry Reid attacked Sue Lowden for being an executive at a company that has lost jobs and revenue during the recession.

Lowden responded with the following statement:

“Harry Reid has been living off the Nevada taxpayer his entire adult life, gladly accepting generous pay raises and writing government-run health care bills that he won’t even enroll in himself. I am not sure he has ever held a private sector job, nor has he ever created one. He has no idea what it’s like to meet a payroll – because hardworking Nevada taxpayers provide his payroll. He has spent a career in Washington raising our taxes, increasing the size of an already bloated government and recklessly saddling our kids and grandkids with trillions of dollars of debt.

“My husband and I are proud to have created thousands of private sector jobs in Nevada’s leading economic industry. We have provided health care and retirement benefits. In our recent SEC filing, we requested and received an extension. We are hopeful that the rest of Nevada’s job providers and workers can survive Harry Reid’s careless tax-and-spend policies until I defeat him this November.”

Here’s their defense, in bullet format:

BACKGROUND:

* Paul Lowden has not received a salary increase since 1996, and is known to have previously declined significant stock option awards.

* Sue Lowden is not on the Compensation Committee for Archon Corporation.

* Since Harry Reid passed his taxpayer-funded $800 BILLION stimulus bill (which was supposed to create jobs), unemployment in Nevada has increased by 33 percent.

* Due to Harry Reid’s failed policies, there are currently more than 178,000 Nevadans who are unemployed.

* Since January 2009, there have been over 30,000 bankruptcies in Nevada alone.

* Since Harry Reid became the Senate Majority Leader, the number of unemployed Nevadans has TRIPLED – with unemployment rising from 4.4 percent to 13 percent! Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

* Harry Reid, just two weeks ago, said Nevada’s economy is experiencing “robust growth”. http://www.suelowden.com/index.php/robust-economy/

* The Lowdens are longtime, well-known and respected Nevada philanthropists, donating their time and money to numerous charitable organizations and causes.

26th (2010) Special Session Bill Information

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:37 pm February 24th, 2010

All bills will be posted here as they are drafted, introduced and passed (or not).

Gloves Off: Reid Goes After Lowden on Annual Report, Bonuses

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:28 pm February 24th, 2010

Here’s the blow-by-blow from Team Harry:

Lowden’s Company Finally Files Annual Report… a Month Late

Records Show Lowdens took a $200,000 bonus after cutting 1/4 of employees

LAS VEGAS – We’ve all heard the stories of CEOs lining their pockets while putting people out of work and raiding retirement funds. No one knows that better than Sue Lowden.

According to her company’s (Archon Corporation) annual report, which she just got around to filing this week, Lowden gave her husband a $200,000 bonus at the same time they reduced their workforce by nearly a quarter and cut off the company’s 401 (k) match for the ones who actually got to keep their jobs. The 401 (k) matching program cost the company less than $70,000, but the Lowdens’ combined income for 2009 was nearly $1 million.

So much for all that talk about being a “job creator.”

“After claiming that job creation is her top priority, Lowden owes her former employees an explanation why their jobs were worth less than her husband’s massive bonus,” said campaign manager Brandon Hall. “As her own campaign says, her record in the private sector speaks volumes about how she would represent Nevada in Washington.”

“Maybe that’s why Lowden sat silently as Sen. Reid led the Senate to pass a bipartisan Jobs Bill that even Republican Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown said will create jobs.”

Looks like nothing will remain unsaid about Sue Lowden ‘tween now and the primary election on June 8.

Republicans: Conservative and Moderates Coming Together?

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:34 pm February 24th, 2010

The report from the noon-ish Assembly caucus meeting in Gansert’s office is that the conservatives and moderates are making an effort to work together (and are also working with the Senate side) to reach consensus.  My source – an uber-conservative Republican legislator who preferred to remain unnamed so as not to “steal the thunder” of the “good efforts” of Heidi Gansert – said the round table discussion was “productive” and “very agreeable” and that everyone was given an opportunity to speak.  He added, “Nobody is going to get 100% of what they want, but we are getting closer.”

Update: “Not so fast…” – ?  I’m told there is still dissension in the ranks (big surprise).  More to follow on this later in the afternoon.  (Details! I promise!)

But: at the outset, not one Republican raised their hand when Buckley polled the Assembly for reducing K-12 cuts to 5%.

Contents of New Proclamation

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:50 am February 24th, 2010

From Ralston on email a short while ago:

Eliminating test score provisions for teachers, revising collective bargaining, allowing scholarships for private school kids, eliminate pupil teacher ratio in class size reduction, eliminate state board of ed and have superintendent report directly to guv as his appointee, eliminate council to establish academic standards and transfer to board of ed, revise energy efficient projects to be eligible for ARRA and revise water rights application provisions retroactively – special session to end no later than 11:59 on Sunday.

Um… Can he DO that (say when the session will end)?

Update: You can see the proclamation by clicking here:  J7152498224.

Raggio, Gansert Getting Pushback from Conservative Caucus

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:03 am February 24th, 2010

As expected, Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert is getting pushback from many of her conservative, staunchly anti-tax members (hello, John Hambrick and Ed Goedhart – for two).

On the Senate side, Raggio is also dealing with pesky legislators who will not agree to vote for anything that might tarnish their conservative creds.

(The LV Sun has a write-up here.)

And/but as Ralston asked this morning:  “How many times can Raggio and his lieutenant, Randolph Townsend, be the votes Majority Leader Steven Horsford needs to count to 14?”

We’re talking to peeps all day and will have pithy quotes and updates and maybe even a story for you.

In any case, Horsford and Buckley are moving forward:  bills to be intro’d shortly.  (Some say that will happen this afternoon.  Waiting for confirmation.)

Citizen Outreach Anti-Tax RoboCalls to Start Today at Noon

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:24 am February 24th, 2010

The voice of conservative (and the Keeper of The Tax Pledge in Nevada) Chuck Muth may soon greet you via RoboCall saying if you disagree with Tax-Pledge-breaking Governor Gibbons’ support of tax hikes, Press 1 to be connected directly to his office.

Listen to the audio here:

muth press 1-0224

Raggio-Gibbons War of Words Heats Up, Senate Minority Leader Reads Statement on Floor

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:50 am February 24th, 2010

Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio kicked off the morning by reading a floor statement slamming Governor Jim Gibbons.  The remarks are in direct response to statements made by Governor Gibbons to the RGJ and repeated on the blogger conference call moderated by the Nevada News Bureau yesterday morning.  Here’s the statement:

February 24, 2010

I am both puzzled and amazed the governor’s statement which was reported in the RGJJ.com indicating that I did not “show up” at most of the meetings the Governor’s office held concerning the budget process prior to the start of the Special Session.

Either the Governor’s memory is failing or he has been misinformed, or he is intentionally distorting the facts.

Prior to the Session we have had at least 8 meetings between the Governor’s staff and Legislators and our Fiscal Staff.

I personally attended 2 at the Governor’s office when the governor was also present.

I attended another one at the Governor’s office when he was not present.

As to the other 5 held in the Legislative Building with the Governor’s staff and the fiscal and budget personnel, I was present for all of them and the Governor did not personally attend any.

I don’t understand why he wants to pick a fight with me – unless it is for political reasons because I am supporting his primary opponent – but my commitment has been at all times to have the Legislature work together with the Executive branch to reach a consensus, if at all possible, on how to deal with the excessive shortfall of $890 million.

List of “Revenue Enhancements” Still on the Table

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:37 am February 24th, 2010

Assemblyman Morse Arberry, Jr., D-Las Vegas, has confirmed that all of following items are still on the discussion table as possibilities for increasing state revenue and closing the budget shortfall:

– A fee increase for gaming control board – between $32 and $57 million

– Tax Amnesty – $15 million

– A grab from Clark County school capital projects – $25 million

– A grab from the Clark County Reclamation Fund – $56 million

– An increase in foreclosure mediation fees – $28 million  (Details:  a $500 fee from the banks, plus a possibly increased fee from the homeowners which is currently $200 or $250)

– Mining – $100 million

We’ll be asking legislators whether or not they support these items and checking for updates throughout the day

Budget Puzzle Remains Incomplete as Legislature Starts Special Session

By Sean Whaley | 8:42 am February 24th, 2010

CARSON CITY – As the Nevada Legislature plodded through the first day of a special session called to erase a nearly $900 million budget shortfall yesterday, several key proposals promoted by different interests to help resolve the fiscal crisis remained works in progress.

Lobbyists representing the mining industry said they were talking with lawmakers but had nothing to announce on an acceptable method by which the industry could contribute financially to erasing the deficit.

“No update,” said Pete Ernaut, a lobbyist for the Nevada Mining Association, on the progress of talks with legislative leadership.

Ernaut and Jim Wadhams, a lobbyist representing the Newmont Mining Corp., both told lawmakers last week that they oppose Gov. Jim Gibbons’ plan to reduce deductions given to the mining industry on the net proceeds of minerals tax to generate $50 million toward the shortfall.

The gaming industry, another potential source of revenue to assist the Legislature in balancing the current budget, is also awaiting some concrete plan from lawmakers, said Bill Bible, president of the Nevada Resort Association.

Lawmakers are considering a fee increase on the gaming industry to cover the costs of operating the Gaming Control Board, the state agency that regulates the gaming industry. The gaming agency received $31.7 million in general fund support in fiscal year 2009. Raising fees by some amount would free up general fund money to offset some of the 10 percent budget cuts Gibbons has proposed for state agencies and education to balance the budget.

“If you look at last year it was the worst year in the industry’s history,” Bible said. “The industry is obviously struggling.”

Fee proposals have been raised with some gaming properties, but there has been no decision either way because there is no firm plan yet in place, he said.

“If you are going to support something you want to know what the proposal is and we don’t have the proposal,” Bible said. “Clearly you have to put it in the context of huge loses within the industry. It’s not like there is $32 million lying around in petty cash. It’s not there.”

The industry lost $6.8 billion in fiscal year 2009 according to a report issued last week by the Gaming Control Board. The same agency reported that calendar year 2009 saw the largest percentage decline in gaming revenue since records first were kept in 1955.

Another source of revenue, a $4.2 billion, local government capital construction fund that could be tapped by the Legislature, remains in play as part of a solution to the budget shortfall.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, when asked about the fund, said: “We’re scrubbing it. It looks positive.”

Local government officials have asked the Legislature not to tap into the fund, which is made up of funds for construction projects for many local government entities, from the water district to the Clark County School District.

Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, attending the first day of what could be a four-day or longer special session, said the fund should be used for its intended purpose: to build much-needed infrastructure in Southern Nevada. The public works projects, from roads to school rehabilitation, create good paying jobs in the region’s devastated construction industry, he said.

Tapping into the fund could also harm local government bond ratings, Collins said.

“If you go take somebody’s bank account you harm his credit worthiness,” he said. “Then you weaken those local governments whether it is a city or a county. We’ve been responsible in Southern Nevada. Don’t jeopardize our credit worthiness because of maybe the faults of the state program. If you take away that funding, you will take away jobs.”

Gibbons is so far standing by his budget plan, but some lawmakers have questioned a few elements, including the mining tax deduction and a program to use traffic cameras to catch uninsured drivers. The Gibbons administration believes that $30 million could be captured from the project.

Some lawmakers remain skeptical.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said he believes that $200 million to $300 million of the governor’s budget plan is unworkable, creating a hole lawmakers must now figure out how to fill.

Horsford Weighs In on Budget Issues

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:49 am February 24th, 2010

Got a chance to chat with Senate Majority Leader Stephen Horsford post-adjournment last night along with other journalists.  Some of his comments were a repetition of things said in recent weeks.  Here are a few snippets and quotes that were/are interesting and/or new:

– Horsford acknowledged that much of yesterday’s testimony was a “retreading” of what was heard at the Las Vegas and Reno Town Hall meetings as well as at the IFC and Ways and Means meetings last week.  Said info bears repeating so all 63 legislators are fully informed and involved.

– He questioned why Race to Top not included in the governor’s original proclamation since it means $150M in federal funds to education.

– Said “we do not want to be here one extra day” (answering question about likely length of session).

– Said “I want to give credit where credit is due. The governor has restored $27 million in “worst of the worst” cuts.  But there is $30 to 40 million more we think should be added back in.”

– When asked (by Sebelius) if InsureNet has been ruled out (as has been rumored):  “Yes, I think that is a fair assessment.  The two problems with InsureNet are having cameras all over the state, so, a “Big Brother” type thing, that Nevadans will not like…and the fact that this company has no agreement with any other state.  Why should Nevada be a guinea pig on a risky scheme?”

– Ditto question on mining taxes.  Horsford said there are constitutional and legal issues with mining taxes and/or plan for deduction reductions.  Said they are looking at raising existing fees, or adding new fees, that would amount to “more than we would have with the deductions proposal.”

– Said the biggest breakthrough is the governor’s agreement to scale back on education cuts.

– Criticized the governor’s proposal to raise quarterly payments (from $25 to $75) for the Nevada Check-up program and/or to raise fees on veterans.  Referenced governor Gibbons’ oft repeated statements that he will go along with tax/fee increases IF the industries in question agreed to them, and then said: “My constituents were not asked if THEY agreed to increases in fees.”

Gibbons Comments from Today’s Nevada Newsmakers

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:17 pm February 23rd, 2010

Governor Gibbons was on Nevada Newsmakers today.  At the start of the show, he got a series of questions about the mining tax plan and criticisms from conservatives about his breach of the Tax Pledge.  Gibbons defended the plan, saying it is about increasing revenue by “closing loopholes.”

He did add, “I guess anytime you increase the amount of revenue from taxes, it’s a tax increase” but then went on to say of/about his critics, “I like these guys, they are very smart, very bright and very supportive of me – but we just happen to disagree on terminology here. I am not increasing taxes.”

(sigh)

Re: fee increases in gaming and whether doing that is similar enough in nature to the mining tax increase for Gibbons to support it, he said, “The mining industry says ‘we agree with this’.  I have not talked to the gaming industry about a tax proposal…but I am reluctant to support any fee or tax that isn’t brought in with 100% support of the industry.  It has to have broad support of industry.”

“It needs to be close to unanimous support without a lot of opposition. I’ve said that all along,” Gibbons added.

When asked about criticisms of various of his budget proposals, Gibbons acknowledged them but added, “The Democrats have not come forward with plans.  We have not seen their plan to solve this budget problem.”

When asked about omitting Race to Top and water in the special session, Gibbons echoed what he said this morning on the Nevada News Bureau‘s blogger conference call:  “Both are critical. Both will be in the special session.  We left them off because we felt the call of the special session ought to be first, the budget. We fully intend to amend the call; we can bring that in. That is our plan.”

When asked about the contentious tone of the public dialogue between he and Senator Raggio, Gibbons said, “I am very surprised that Raggio would take that attitude, that tactic at this point.”

When asked about his own counter-attacks on Raggio, Gibbons said, “Well, I’m going to do that, yes, if that is the way he is going to be.”

“During our budget talks, our meetings, we invited Raggio and others,” Gibbons added. We briefed them time and time again; we have listened to their ideas.  But Raggio never showed up most of the time to a lot those meetings.”

At the end of the show, Gibbons told Shad, “I have a brand new veto stamp.”