Let Nevada’s budget craziness begin; Update: Official budget numbers

Victor Joecks

Update: The state will have $5.3 billion to spend over the next two years and that doesn’t include any money from the increased room tax or federal stimulus.

The Economic Forum met today to announce how many tax dollars politicians will have to spend in the next two years. Pre-meeting estimates greatly vary.

The Economic Forum, made up of five business leaders, will meet today and set revenue projections for the next two years. Legislative staff estimates that the state will have to cut another $255 million, based on their projections. The estimate of the governor’s budget director, Andrew Clinger, is $516 million.

Geoffrey Lawrence, NPRI’s fiscal policy analyst said he saw a news flash and the final budget number was $5.2 billion. I haven’t seen a news article yet, but I’ll post the final numbers in an update.

This leads to the question of how much legislative leaders are going to propose increasing taxes by and which ones. This one could get pretty wild.

Horsford has already called for. “a broad-based business tax.”

Sen. Raggio has said “he does not favor adding new types of taxes but would support some increases in existing taxes. He would not say how much in tax increases he can support.”

Governor Gibbons held a press conference yesterday to announce that he is opposed to increasing taxes and will veto a budget with a tax increase.

And to top off the conflicting points of view, the legislature has to act fast. They only have three weeks to pass a budget and override Gibbons’ looming veto.

If they miss that timetable, Buckley said, they would simply cut to the governor’s budget and adjourn rather than letting him control a special session and have the process devolve into lawsuits over who has what powers during an extra session.

If lawmakers wanted to avoid this craziness, there is an alternative budget based on priorities and principles available. It only spends $5.1 billion over the next two years and does not include dollars from the room tax increase or federal stimulus money.