Gov. Brian Sandoval Monday vetoed the bill funding K-12 education for the next two years because of the funding Democrats added back into those budgets."I veto and return this bill because it increases state spending by nearly $660 million above the amount proposed in the Executive Budget," he wrote in his veto message.If signed, he said there wouldn't be enough revenue for the Legislature to balance the state budget and lawmakers have made no reductions in other parts of the budget to bring things back into balance."This bill, therefore, represents a circuitous attempt to secure a tax increase - despite the fact I have been clear since the commencement of the Legislative session that Nevada's struggling economy must be allowed to fully recover," he wrote.He said the Economic Forum two weeks ago allowed him to add back $240 million for K-12 education. He said if more funding becomes available, he wants lawmakers to include "triggers" that would allow that money to be pumped into education.Senior Advisor Dale Erquiaga said during a press briefing those triggers could apply added funding to both K-12 and higher education.Asked whether the governor would accept triggers to restore some of the cuts his budget is making to state worker pay and benefits, he said, "not at this time."He said AB568 was written "with the clear intention of casting opponents as somehow 'anti education,' while at the same time forcing a tax increase.""Such a manipulation of the process undermines the Legislature's obligations to the people of this state," Sandoval said.Legislative Democrats added back money to prevent teachers from having to suffer the same 5 percent pay cut Sandoval's budget and lawmakers have decided to impose on state workers. They also added back money to cover merit and longevity pay for education employees. They also refused to sweep the bond reserve funds from the school districts.Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said those additions to Sandoval's budget simply funded K-12 education at current levels, giving time to reform."We can't cut our way out of crumbling classrooms," he said. "We can't attract the talented teachers we demand if we continue to cut their pay. We can't pack more students into overcrowded classrooms and expect them to learn."He was joined by Ways and Means Chairwoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, who said she expected the veto."While I fully anticipated this veto, I question how the governor plans to champion economic recovery, end social promotion and improve our graduation rates while cutting $1.1 billion from our public schools."It was Sandoval's third veto. The first would have let school districts keep their bond reserves but expand the uses those reserves can be put to. It conflicted with his plan to sweep those reserves, currently estimated at $232 million.The second was the Democratic redistricting plan for congress and legislative offices, which he said was unfair and in violation of the Voter Rights Act of 1965 because it put Hispanics at a disadvantage in winning elective office.
Article Topics: Legislature: BudgetLegislature: Budget