NV lawmakers question education cut numbers
Lawmakers complained Monday that the governor’s office was deceiving the public by saying the K-12 education cuts are just 2.4 percent.
But Robin Reedy, chief of staff for Gov. Jim Gibbons, said the 10 percent reductions lawmakers are using is the disingenuous number.
Director of Administration Andrew Clinger said the General Fund cut is 10 percent but school districts get more than half of their money from sources outside the General Fund. The state share of K-12 funding, he said, is $3.6 billion over the biennium – only part of which is General Fund. Local revenues, he said, are more than $3.7 billion, bringing total funding available to the 17 school districts to some $7.3 billion.
General Fund cuts totaling $175.6 million come to just 2.4 percent of that total, he said.
Outside the meeting, Reedy repeated her stance: “A 10 percent cut to the General Fund results in a 2.4 percent cut to school funding. “When the statistics go out to the public, parents and others think it’s a 10 percent cut. That’s not right.”
Reedy was also questioned about why the governor has backed away from some fee increases on his list of budget balancing moves but not from the reduction in Net Proceeds of Mines exemptions, which generate some $50 million over the biennium.
Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said it makes sense to have fee supported agencies support themselves. She said the governor agreed during the last session when he supported converting the insurance division to a fee funded agency and imposing a higher room tax on state hotels and motels.
“I think they make sense,” she said.
This go-around Gibbons proposed higher parks fees which has now been withdrawn as has the increase in consumer affairs. But lawmakers charged that removing those fee changes while keeping the minerals revenue increase is inconsistent.
Buckley said it seemed Gibbons was reacting to the complaints from the right about his fee proposals.
“I’d rather see us work together than reacting to the slam of the day,” she said.
The special session is to start at 9 a.m. today and leadership admitted they still haven’t agreed on a plan – although Buckley said with the session looming, people were becoming more willing to compromise.
Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, said the special session would be “laborious, tedious.”
“This is not going to be like anything you’ve seen before,” he said.