Gov. Sandoval Rejects New Tax Revenue For Budget, Democrats Keep Hope Alive

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval emerged from a meeting with Republican lawmakers today saying he is not willing to consider extending taxes set to sunset June 30 to provide more money for the two-year state budget.

Sandoval’s pronouncement, combined with a statement released later in the day by Senate Republicans saying they remain in firm opposition to any tax proposals to add money to the budget, put a planned joint money committee meeting to reconsider the two-year spending plan on hold for more than eight hours.

But after a day spent in closed-door negotiations, Democrats held firm to their plan to reduce spending only to levels that would be supported with an extension of the sun-setting taxes. Even so, Democrats ended up about $78 million short of the cuts needed to reach levels that could be supported by the sun-setting taxes.

Among the reductions approved by Democrats when the long-delayed meeting finally got under way were a 2.5 percent cut in school salaries saving nearly $120 million and a reduction in per pupil support saving another $85 million.

The votes on the roll backs in spending were party-line, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed. Republicans said the reductions were inadequate to conform to Sandoval’s proposed $6.1 billion spending plan.

There is no sign yet Democrats have convinced any GOP lawmakers to join them in extending the sun-setting taxes, which would bring in about $626 million in additional revenue over the two years of the budget that will start July 1.

The budget has to be substantially complete by Friday if lawmakers are to adjourn June 6, the constitutionally-mandated deadline.

“We have had plenty of time to thoughtfully prioritize spending and live within our means,” the Senate Republican statement against any tax increases said. “There is no reason to continue crafting a budget that state revenue cannot support. We should not wait until an unbalanced budget is vetoed; we should pass a balanced one now.”

The statement from GOP senators came as indications were that some Assembly Republicans were considering support for the extension of the tax package set to expire next month. This support would be dependent on significant policy reforms to collective bargaining and on other key issues.

Asked if there was a budget deal after an hour-long meeting with Republicans, Sandoval replied: “Not that I’m aware of.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval emerges from a meeting with Republican lawmakers, remains opposed to extending sun-setting taxes to add more revenue to budget/Photo: Andrew Doughman, Nevada News Bureau

Sandoval said he has submitted a balanced budget and that extending expiring tax revenues is not an option he will accept.

Sandoval said he has discussed with Republicans the idea of using “triggers” whereby tax revenues that come in above projections could be used to increase funding to public education and other areas of the budget.

But Sandoval said he has not had talks with Democrats on the subject.

Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, said triggers are on the table for consideration.

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, said he believes triggers would be an appropriate method of providing additional funding to core state services.

The idea that triggers based on bigger than anticipated tax revenue collections was bolstered with the release of the statewide taxable sales report for March showed a 9.6 percent increase over March 2010, the largest jump in the economic indicator in several years.

Assembly Ways and Means Chairwoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, said she does not believe there is a deal yet on the budget.

“This is the point in the session where passions run high,” she said. “We’ll just take it an hour at a time.”

Assemblyman Paul Aizley, D-Las Vegas, said after the morning caucus meeting: “There have been better meetings. … Either there’s no deal or there’s too many deals.”

Democrats had to cut their previously approved spending recommendations to get close to the amount of revenue that would be generated from a renewal of the sun-setting taxes. Democrats on the money panels had added $968 million more to these areas than existing revenues will cover over the past several weeks.

This requirement caused problems for Democrats within their own caucus however, with some lawmakers balking at any reductions in spending that have already been approved.

Sandoval has asked that lawmakers finish up by the constitutionally-mandated 120-day deadline. He has said he won’t call a special session right away if lawmakers don’t finish on time.

Nevada News Bureau Intern Andrew Doughman contributed to this report.

  • deacon427

    Ok, I am tired of messing with this Gov.  The time is now to recall this flipping idiot because he could legitmately be tagged with increasing unemployment by another 3000-4000 more people and that is just the beginning.  What did you say recently more than once?  Oh yeah, your primary concern was getting people back to work in Nevada, but all you really are doing is putting people out of work and descimating education, GOOD JOB!  The decrease in unemployment is not because of anything you have done, but rather just a natural occurance of people getting tired of looking, falling off the unemployment rolls or moving out of state to find employment elsewhere.  You have done NOTHING Gov Sandoval, NOTHING!   I know how you got elected and it was not a mandate from the people for your vision, but rather the snow job that you, Mining, Gaming and Big Business pulled on the people of Nevada.  You painted yourself into a corner along with the other Reps regarding the no new taxes crap, and now you have to live with it because if you don’t then your political future is gone.  What a weasel.  You are clueless Gov and I can’t see you get recalled fasat enough. 

  • Kyoiku

    I wonder how many signatures we would need to recall Sandovall?

  • deacon427

     Education in Nevada has NEVER, I repeat, NEVER been funded properly.  It is a FACT that we are at the bottom of every good list on education and at the top of every bad list, and yeah it shows, and no it is not entirely the fault of teachers.  The majority of the fault lies with the government, both Fed and state, and the parents.  The Fed and state have so much flipping red tape that teachers can’t teach.  The parents don’t give a rat’s you-know-what, and it shows.  Nevada state government is the leanest run state government in the country and that was BEFORE all the recent cuts to funding to balance the budget.  By the way, Sandoval’s budget is anything but a real budget. The thing is so full of smoke and mirroes and such a shell game that it should be a carnival game.  Sandoval and the mindless sheep we call legislative Republicans painted themselves into such a corner on the no new tax stance that they could do nothing more than what they are doing.  This is not saying this is the right thing, because it is far from it.  I thought that we might get a bit more common sense out of this Gov and this Legislature then we got out of Gibbons and the past legislature, but I see I was sorely mistaken.  What we owe the people of Nevada is a first class state that is something to proud of, and right now we do not have that and if Sandoval and the boys have their way we will be even worse off and be more of a laughing stock than we are now.  shameful.  pitiful.  laughable.  disgusting.  appalling.  Sandoval, Reps and those that support this unworkable and unthinkable peice of garbage should be ashamed of themselves.  The only justice now is to recall Sandoval and all those that back him in the legislature.