Gov. Jim Gibbons said Wednesday that even if Nevada's shortfall grows as projected to $3 billion, he would rather balance the budget with cuts than tax increases.
Gibbons said it wasn't easy to cut more than $800 million, the task just completed by his administration and the Legislature in the wee hours of Monday morning. He said that is small compared to the $3 billion potential shortfall for the next budget cycle - an amount that is fully half the current biennial general fund budget of
The $3 billion is the total of stimulus and other revenues that won't be available when the state builds the 2012 and 2013 budgets.
Asked if it's possible to cut that much, Gibbons said, "I will tell you, that will be my first choice."
Gibbons said the state must protect certain functions including health, education and public safety. When advised those functions make up 92 percent of the general fund budget, Gibbons said even those services will have to take cuts.
"We do have a core requirement but there are going to be a lot of agencies and departments that are going to have to be completely revamped," he said. "Some may be closed."
"Nevada may no longer be able to be everything to everybody," Gibbons said.
To reduce the need for cuts, he said his administration will concentrate on helping the economy recover.
"My focus is increasing jobs and bringing more tourists to this state," he said.
He said Nevada's problem is the result of government spending growing at double the rate of income in the state.
"My belief is we don't have a tax problem," he said. "We have a spending problem."