Special session: Core meeting starts as Gibbons arrives
Gov. Gibbons arrived at the Legislature about 11:30 a.m., heading quickly to Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio’s office amid rumors some GOP members in the Assembly were trying to put the brakes on the compromise deal.
Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, said if the session was held up until the Gibbons imposed deadline of midnight Sunday, it would put the pressure on those who want to raise taxes to instead fix rather than just postpone changes to Nevada’s governmental structure.
Gibbons emerged just before noon, saying little as he made his way downstairs to Speaker Barbara Buckley’s office other than the various camps were working together to resolve Nevada’s budget crisis.
The were joined quickly by Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford. Raggio and Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, R-Reno as well as both legislative and executive branch fiscal experts.
Buckley said Friday night the deal to end the session and fill the $888 hole in the state budget was close to done. The goal this morning was to finish it and pass the plan through both houses before different factions could sabotage it.
One of the issues still on the table is Gibbons’ desire to pull back his proposed mining tax revenue scheme. He originally proposed cutting mining deductions in half, raising $50 million for the state. He said he didn’t want to do that after being told mining tax revenues were coming in nearly $60 million above original projections. He said the deduction changes aren’t needed.
Raggio made clear Saturday morning he doesn’t want to do that. He said the added $60 million from normal mining revenue makes their job easier by reducing the shortfall to about $830 million.
Buckley said late Friday there was general agreement not to hit state workers with the additional two hours of unpaid furlough time proposed by the governor. She said keeping furloughs at eight hours a month would cost $6.8 million.
The big debate seemed to still center on how much of a cut K-12 and higher education will have to take. The governor proposed 10 percent less General Fund; Democrats 5 percent which would cost $121 million. Assembly Republicans suggested splitting the difference at 7.5 percent which would cost $60 million.