CARSON CITY — Governor Brian Sandoval today vetoed the Democratic spending proposal for Nevada’s K-12 budget.
Democrats and Republicans had been at loggerheads during debate over the bill, largely because it would provide for spending almost $700 million more than Sandoval wanted.
As expected, Sandoval vetoed Assembly Bill 568 because he said “it increases state spending by nearly $660 million above the amount proposed in the Executive Budget.”
In a statement explaining the veto, Sandoval also contended that the bill is a “circuitous attempt to secure a tax increase” by passing a spending bill without the money to back it.
Democrats have, however, proposed a $1.2 billion tax package that ostensibly would raise the money to pay for the expenditures in the bill.
By passing the bill and putting it before the governor, Democrats forced the governor’s hand in signing the veto.
“In the past when governors veto a bill they usually tell you why,” said Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, after the bill passed last week. ”It’ll be interesting to see why.”
Sandoval, however, objected to what he said was the “clear intention of casting opponents [to the bill] as somehow ‘anti-education’ while at the same time forcing a tax increase.”
The $660 million would have paid for such things as teacher’s salaries, which the governor had proposed to cut by 5 percent.
“Today, the governor not only turns his back on the struggling schools of Nevada, but he also risks turning our successful schools into factories of underachievement,” said Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, in a statement released after the veto.
Rather than an immediate tax increase, the governor said in his veto statement that he prefers waiting for an economic recovery to bring in more money for schools.
“I proposed that ‘triggers’ be adopted so additional funding can continue to go straight to support of the classroom as revenue becomes available through economic recovery,” he said.