Rory Reid Calls for Reform and Consolidation to Balance State Budget

(Updated at 6:50 a.m. on Aug. 11, 2010)

CARSON CITY – Democrat gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid told the Nevada News Bureau yesterday there are other options for moving the state out of its current budget crisis besides increasing taxes and cutting programs.

In an interview at a local coffee shop, Reid pulled out two pieces of paper. One showed an organization chart for the state’s public education system from 1989. The other shows how it looks now.

The newer chart showed many more layers of government, including advisory panels, legislative committees and other bureaucratic creations that have evolved over the past 20 years.

Reid said the two charts demonstrate one way Nevada can save several hundred million dollars: by streamlining government services to eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies in state government.

Reid, who is trailing GOP candidate Brian Sandoval in the polls, said he has experience balancing budgets as chairman of the Clark County Commission, budgets that are as big as the Nevada general fund budget.

“I know how to do this,” he said. “I’ve balanced it in good times and in bad for seven years running without new taxes. There are more than two options. The third option nobody talks about is to remake our government.”

Clark County had multiple housing authorities at one time, but Reid said he worked to consolidate them into one agency. There used to be multiple public health agencies, now there is one.

Reid did not back off his no new taxes stance, saying the state unemployment rate, the foreclosure crisis, and the overall economic situation in Nevada makes the idea of expanding such levies a nonstarter.

“We need a leader in Carson City that knows how to reform government structures,” he said. “If we do what needs to be done, we will save hundreds of millions of dollars and still maintain services by reforming our government.”

Reid said he will be putting out a proposal in the next several days addressing this issue in more detail.

Reid said Sandoval is offering no realistic solutions, instead saying he will avoid layoffs, protect vulnerable citizens and government services and still balance the budget.

“That is impossible,” Reid said.

The Sandoval campaign offered this response: “As a two-term legislator, an attorney general who returned money to the general fund and as a private law practitioner, Brian is proud of his budget experience. It’s curious that just a few months ago Rory Reid refused to say how he might balance the state’s budget.  Now he’s attacking Brian – the only candidate to lay out how he would have approached balancing our state’s short term budget deficit without mass layoffs or new taxes.”

Reid weighed in on the state’s budget problems as state Budget Director Andrew Clinger has spoken in recent days of the severity of the impacts facing Nevada when the Legislature convenes in February.

Clinger said the state is facing an estimated $3 billion shortfall in the revenues needed to sustain state government for the next two years, or nearly 50 percent of what would be a $6.5 billion general fund budget.

On Monday Clinger said new taxes might be avoided if the state and counties worked together to more efficiently divvy up the delivery of government services and the revenues used to pay for them.

Even so, both Sandoval and Reid have steadfastly rejected any notion of raising taxes as a partial solution to the state’s budget problems.

In an interview today on the KRNV Channel 4 noon news, Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said he would not reject out-of-hand the idea of new or increased taxes as one option to solving the state’s budget crisis.

“There is no question that we are facing a very severe problem, the largest shortfall in our history,” he said. “We did take money from counties last time, cities and counties, and there is a bottom to that well also.

“No one wants to advocate raising taxes, or new taxes,” Raggio said. “We will probably have to look at restoring the taxes that are going to sunset. But I don’t think anybody should take a blood oath that we’re not going to look at that.”

Raising taxes is a last resort, he said.

“But I wouldn’t take it off the table,” Raggio said.

The 2009 Legislature raised the sales tax and the modified business tax on the state’s largest employers as part of a solution to balancing the current budget. Those taxes will expire on June 30, 2011 unless they are extended by the Legislature.

Reid said there is one other way that Nevada can get out of its budget crisis, and that is “growing” out of it through economic development. There are $5 billion worth of energy projects getting close to construction that will generate construction jobs and tax revenues to the state, he said.

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Audio clips:

Rory Reid says the state can save millions by remaking an outdated state government:

081010RoryReid1 :17 21st century economy.”

Reid says he has experience in reforming government structures:

081010RoryReid2 :15 reforming our government.”

Reid says Sandoval promising more than he can deliver:

081010RoryReid3 :23 that is impossible.”

  • Rick Korbel

    I don’t believe the REIDs will do anything to reduce the size of Government. That goes against their core beliefs.

  • Judge Naragansett

    How does Rory plan on reforming government, when the government and all the associated public sector unions make up Rory’s key supporters? Not only that, but those Democratic Legislature will be just as much, if not more beholden to this same groups.

    In crafting the Clark County budget (mostly in exceedingly good times), Rory oversaw the biggest largess paid out to public sector unions in this State’s history. That does not look like reform.

  • http://nevadanewsbureau michael

    Nevada politicians like Reid are wh0res and liars. According to the pew report, our neighbors California are in better shape to deal with unfunded pensions and New York is in EVEN BETTER SHAPE than Nevada, We are facing 57% shortfall and that DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE THE 9.1 BILLION (June 09)
    Unfunded pensions.
    Now put this in perspective; Orange County in CA filed bankruptcy and their unfunded liability is 3 billion or 1/3 or ours AND WE HAVE THE SAME POPULATION, so we are 3 Xs worse than a huge government that has already went BANKRUPT

  • http://nevadanewsbureau michael

    Time is soooon to be here that HUGE decisions will be made because we have the largest budget shortfall in the U.S. and by a factor of 3 times the national average. Most money is spent on people and pensions so the wh0res who sold out Nevada to the unions will have to admit the gravy train stops here. The state will no doubt steal $ from the cities and counties and those wh0res will have to admit to the public unions that the gravy train stops here.
    There are easy ways to fix this problem but it takes brains and not arrogence.
    I could explain the simple fix for revenues but U will never get there if U can not start w/ salaries, pensions, illegas and the wh0re politicians
    BANKRUPTSY must be decared, all gov. employees contracts and pensions must be nullified.
    public employees need to be fired en mass and rehired at the national average (no execeptions)
    NV needs a law for illegals like Arizona as those illegas are on the move and coming here
    We are 3 billion short and loose at least 1 billion because of illegals alone, if u can’t start with the obvious u will NEVER get there

    The solution is SIMPLE; FILE BANKRUPTCY, FIRE all cops and FF, offer to re-hire at the national average 50K, THIS IS SALARY-NO OVERTIME-they can work what is needed or “THANKS and goodbye”…AND NATIONAL AVERAGE means they get the same sort of pensions private sector on average gets, same insurance, contribute the same to their retirement. Hell it cost 23% more to live in Boston and they work for 50K. You can have 3 FF at 50K or 1 pampered baby at 150K. Note 70% of all FF in U.S. are volunteers. Then move onto the rest of the employees and do the same with them.
    Finally remember the bought and paid for elected officials who brought us here.