Gibbons, Amodei: Problem is spending, not revenue
RENO – Gov. Jim Gibbons, joined by state Sen. Mark Amodei, told businessmen Thursday morning they still see Nevada’s problem as overspending, not a lack of revenue.
“The last legislative session felt that they needed to spend $1 billion more than what I budgeted,” he told more than 150 attendees at the Nevada Business Connections monthly breakfast meeting. “And where are we today, ladies and gentlemen? We are $880 million short.”
He said over the past decade, state spending has grown 18 percent a year while business grew at 9 percent.
“When your spending is growing at twice the rate your income is growing, you’re in trouble,” he said. “Government can’t continue to tap into your resources when your resources are drying up.”
Amodei, who is leaving the state Senate and running for U.S. Senate, said all the talk thus far has been about the tax side of the equation.
He said the problem is that government spending decisions are being made politically.
“It’s time to take a serious look at our spending habit,” Amodei told the audience. “When you make spending decisions based on political decisions, you spend everything you’ve got.”
“We understand what Mark Amodei is saying,” Gibbons said. “We have a spending problem.”
Gibbons singled out the university system as an example of a place where change is needed, saying most states get 84-85 percent of their higher education funding from endorsements, patents, grants and tuition.
“In Nevada, that’s just reversed – 84 percent comes out of state funds.”
He said he wants the university system to succeed.
“I want it to be successful yet get it funded correctly,” he said. “They’ve got to realize they have the power to raise revenue.”
Nevada Business Connections is a private group funded by business to bring new or expanded business to the state of Nevada.