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Sandoval offers budget plan for Nevada

By ThisIsReno

By Elizabeth Crum, courtesy of Nevada News Bureau

LAS VEGAS — Gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval today announced his plan to address the state’s current budget shortfall.

Sandoval’s plan proposes temporary 4% salary reductions for all state employees including K-12 education personnel, state health plan modifications, privatizing selected state services and targeted budget cuts.  Sandoval’s plan aims to realize a savings of between $200 and $500 million.

Sandoval’s plan for the Public Employee Benefits Program (PEBS) would implement the four proposed SAGE Commission recommended 2009 PEBS reforms which are:

  1. Immediately change employer contribution to 75% from 95%,
  2. Eliminate subsidy for Medicare retirees beginning July 1, 2010,
  3. Eliminate the entire subsidy for anyone who retires after July 1, 2010,
  4. Reduce subsidy for non-Medicare retirees by 25% on July 1, 2010, and by 25%

The proposal for privatization of selected state services would occur through a public bidding process.  Sandoval’s plan assumes an average savings of 10 percent for services including prison medical services, building and grounds maintenance, the state motor pool, mail services, and the state personnel and purchasing departments.

In addition, Sandoval’s proposal would divert $110 million from the Clark County School District portion of the state class size reduction program to the state general fund.  The temporary diversion would be offset by seeking statutory changes necessary to allow, on a temporary basis, the district to utilize its capital account reserves for operating expenses, salaries and program integrity.

“All Nevadans are facing tough times and our state budget is experiencing unprecedented deficits,” Sandoval said. “Revenues are down significantly, caseloads are up, and tough decisions will have to be made to keep our state solvent.”

“I understand the impact of these proposed salary and benefit reductions on our state employees, but I believe these reductions are a better alternative than mass layoffs, tax increases, or deficit spending,” he said.

“Make no mistake, there is a difficult road ahead and none of the choices to address this problem are easy or painless,” Sandoval said.

“Given the importance of this issue, I have studied the problem for months, enlisted the best and brightest minds in our state to aid me, and offer this plan as means to help our current leaders in their efforts to shore up our ailing state budget,” he said.

View or download a PDF of Sandoval’s plan here.