Gov. Brian Sandoval filed to run for re-election today, saying it’s premature for him to decide whether he will extend the sunsetted tax increases and funding diversions used to balance the state budget.
Those taxes and diversions to the general fund total nearly $1.2 billion over the biennium. Without action by the governor and Legislature, all are scheduled to go away at the end of this budget cycle.
“That’s a premature question,” he said as he filed in the Secretary of State’s Office.
The state just issued budget instructions for the coming budget Thursday, Sandoval said.
“We’re ahead of where we thought we were going to be,” he said. “We’re in recovery mode.”
Those sunsets include elimination of the Modified Business Tax increase, generating some $234 million over the biennium and restoring $126 million in Governmental Services Tax money to the highway fund along with the $331 million reduction if the Local School Support Tax hike goes away.
The list includes nearly $650 million in rate increases, $422 million in fund diversions and $112 million worth of prepayments — the biggest of which makes miners pay their taxes a year in advance.
Sandoval said that among other needs, he would like to see more money pumped into the rainy-day fund. That fund was zeroed out at the end of the 2013 Legislature, with the last $15 million taken to fill the final hole in the budget. But the state finished fiscal year 2013 some $87 million ahead of projections, which triggered a transfer to that fund of about $28 million.
Sandoval said that during the upcoming campaign, he will be talking a great deal about the teachers union margins tax that is on the November ballot.
“I think it’s a bad tax,” he said. “Nevada is in recovery mode, and to impose a tax on companies that aren’t making a profit is the worst thing to do.”
He said that decision is in the hands of the voters, but that he will be making his opinion known.
Sandoval repeated that he intends to serve the full four years if he is re-elected. There has been speculation that he would run halfway through a second term against Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in the U.S. Senate.
He said he still has a lot of work to do on a range of issues topped by K-12 education, and that his focus is on the job of being governor.
Sandoval faces a half-dozen other candidates, with at least a couple of more expected. At this point, most are unknowns. There is one week to go in the filing period.