Gibbons calls for budget meetings with lawmakers | NevadaAppeal.com

Gibbons calls for budget meetings with lawmakers

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

Gov. Jim Gibbons said Thursday he will seek regular meetings with lawmakers beginning next week to discuss state budget issues.

The first so-called “open door” meeting will be at 10 a.m. Monday.

“I am concerned that legislators may become alarmed at Nevada’s unprecedented budget challenges,” Gibbons said, “But now is the time to show leadership and be prudent with public funds, so I believe the more discussion we have with legislators, the more opportunities we will have for ideas and understanding.”

Gibbons called for several meetings “where legislators are welcome to come to the office and share their thoughts and ideas.”

“The budget issues facing the state will require us all to work together,” he said.

He said he expects to offer lawmakers the chance to weigh in on the budget crisis about every two weeks through February.

Earlier this week, Gibbons sent a letter to state workers asking for budget-reduction suggestions.

Gibbons has asked state agencies to develop scenarios for budget reductions all the way from 1.4 percent to 10 percent to handle the state’s growing revenue shortfall. Those scenarios will be considered after the Economic Forum reprojects major revenues at a special meeting in January.

Gibbons asked workers’ opinion on whether to use a percentage pay cut, layoffs or more furloughs to reduce personnel costs, which account for the majority of state spending.

He asked whether there are some state services that could be discontinued or privatized. But he also asked for opinions on whether there are things the state should spend more on “because it would make or save money.”

Other suggestions on his list include the issue of eliminating full-day kindergarten or increasing public school class sizes.

Gibbons also gave workers a more open-ended question, asking what they see as the biggest waste of money by the state.

His letter asks workers to respond by Jan. 4 to nevadafirst@gov.nv.gov.