Rory Reid outlines plan for budget

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

Saying state government is "fundamentally broken," Rory Reid on Thursday outlined plans to cut the size of government and "get ourselves out of the economic and fiscal ditch we're in" without raising taxes.

The Democratic candidate for governor's plan included savings of $680 million by "reinventing state government." That includes expansion of public/private partnerships in developing transportation and infrastructure.

The plan also includes cutting the number of major state agencies from 26 to 16, saving some $32 million. Halving administrative overhead, he said, would save $47 million more for a total of $79 million.

It includes $615 million by "investing in education to grow revenues," which he said includes streamlining school administration and cutting bureaucracy. It also says the university system can become "a profit center."

"We need to build a new economy, transform the way we deliver education," Reid said. "This plan will allow that. We can grow our way out of this crisis while protecting our ability to educate our children."

Some of his proposals were taken from a report by the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission, impaneled by Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons in 2008.

Altogether, he said his plan would save just under $2.5 billion.

Gov. Jim Gibbons' staff immediately began poking holes in Reid's plan.

Deputy Chief of Staff Lynn Hettrick said he doubted the federal government would allow Reid to combine the Nevada guard and military department under state public safety.

His response to the university system becoming a profit center: "Impossible."

Stacy Woodbury, also a deputy chief on Gibbons' staff, said most of the changes would produce nearly nothing in general fund savings.

"A lot of these agencies are self-funded so it won't save any general fund," she said.

Director of Administration Andrew Clinger said he doubts the consolidations would save $31.9 million in administrative costs.

"I haven't added up all the general fund in those agencies but I doubt that it comes to $31 million," he said.

Reid's plan would reduce the $3 billion shortfall by continuing the state worker furloughs and other pay cuts including elimination of longevity pay and step increases, saving $480 million.

Hettrick said he has no argument with that number but he questioned many other projected savings in Reid's plan which he said were "plucked" from other states with no indication whether those ideas would work in Nevada and no data to support how the savings were projected. He cited as an example the $68 million in savings by following the Illinois study which recommended assigning patients a primary care physician.

Hettrick said Nevada already diverts many inmates from prison with different programs and that the assigned physician study might not even be possible in Nevada.

"This is not a budget piece, it's an election piece," said Hettrick.

He also said the suggestion there is still a lot of fat and excess workers to cut from Nevada's budget is "insulting to state workers" who he said are "working their tails off."

"We're really lean," Hettrick said.

Reid, chairman of the Clark County Commission and son of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has trailed in the polls by double digits to Republican Brian Sandoval, a former federal judge.

In a statement issued late Thursday, Sandoval said, "Since Rory's plan relies on $615 million in revenues which don't exist and over half a billion in cuts which are based on faulty assumptions, it's impossible to take this plan seriously."

The two are scheduled to debate education issues Sunday night in Las Vegas.

With Associated Press reports.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment