Governor recounts first legislative successes |

Governor recounts first legislative successes

Jim Gibbons

I took office with pledges to improve our schools, make our neighborhoods safer and provide new sources of funding for building highways – while keeping the tax burdens on our citizens and our businesses low. The promise was mine, but it required the hard work of 63 members of the Senate and Assembly representing every Nevada resident. They did their jobs, and Nevada will become a better state because of our collective efforts.

Nevada students can look forward to record school funding totaling nearly $2.2 billion. Many students will participate in customized education through Empowerment schools, which will give principals, teachers and parents the autonomy to manage their own budgets, curricula and schedules to best serve the students of individual schools. The Youth Guard ChalleNGe Program will give a second chance to students at risk of dropping out of regular schools.

Nevadans will be safer thanks to new laws requiring better registration and tracking of sex offenders.

In addition to the roughly $1 billion included in my original budget for highways, we have created an innovative funding solution that, through the use of bonds, will generate about $1 billion in additional highway funding – without adding new taxes. Now, growth will pay for growth as we step up our program of building tomorrow’s transportation infrastructure.

Nevada homeowners will enjoy more protection under the Homestead Act and through a compromise to strengthen Nevada’s eminent domain laws. State employees and retirees will have more secure health benefits, thanks to a new trust fund which also protects Nevada’s bond rating. Our state will gain insurance against economic downturns by the addition of $36 million to the Rainy Day fund.

Before and during the session, I made it very clear that I would not accept any new or increased taxes. This was more than a campaign slogan; it was a promise to the citizens of Nevada. It was a promise the Legislature understood and respected.

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Legislators may rightfully boast of many more accomplishments, but these essentially fulfill the requests I made on behalf of the people of Nevada. I would like to express my gratitude to both the Assembly and the Senate, and especially to Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley.

Nevada is becoming an even greater state, and its residents may look forward to even better lives over the next two years – thanks in no small part to the excellent work of the 2007 Nevada Legislature.