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Gov. Sandoval says his policy proposals should be considered on own merits


By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Gov. Brian Sandoval said today the Legislature should take up the policy initiatives he has proposed in his budget and State of the State address based on their own merits, and not be used in trade for negotiations on fee or tax increases.

“I am hopeful the Legislature will consider all legislation based on its merits,” he said. “There are education issues, there is economic development. As I said I think it is important and beneficial to the people of Nevada that each of these issues be considered on their own merits and not be traded.”

Sandoval, who reiterated comments he made at a speech in Las Vegas last week, said he will not budge on his position of opposing any tax or fee increases to balance his $5.8 billion general fund spending plan. This includes proposals heard by lawmakers last week to hike liquor and cigarette taxes.

Sandoval said he understands the arguments some lawmakers are making for raising “sin” taxes to generate more revenue for the budget, but that he will not support any such efforts.

Sandoval’s comments remained unchanged from those made in a speech to the conservative Keystone Corporation when he said taxes would not be traded for any other legislative objectives.

He said today no Republican lawmakers have come to him and asked that there be some discussion of fee and tax increases in exchange for agreement with Democrats on reforms to Nevada’s collective bargaining law, or to the public pension system, or other areas of concern to the GOP and some business groups.

Some Republican lawmakers would have to join with Democrats if tax increases were to be part of the 2011-13 budget. Democrats do not have the two-thirds majority needed to raise taxes or override a Sandoval veto.

Sandoval’s policy proposals are getting their day in the Legislature.

The Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee today will take up some proposed reforms to the state’s collective bargain law, as well as consider a constitutional amendment that would allow for the creation of a voucher school program for Nevada children to attend private schools, including religious schools. These are both issues Sandoval and some Republican lawmakers are supporting.

On Monday, some of Sandoval’s reforms for public education, including the elimination of social promotion of pupils, were also heard by lawmakers.

Sandoval said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the Economic Forum will on May 2 increase its revenue estimate for the budget. If it does so, Sandoval said he would like any additional tax dollars to go to public education.

Sandoval also said he is confused by the decision made by the Board of Regents on Friday to put the possibility of campus closures back on the table as a way to balance the Nevada System of Higher Education budget.

“Well I’m confused because the Board of Regents first indicated they weren’t going to close any campuses, and then at the meeting last Friday they switched course,” he said. “That is a decision that is within the purview of the Board of Regents but I don’t understand why they took one policy decision and then have taken another.”

Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says his policy proposals deserve to be considered on their own merits:

041211Sandoval1 :15 not be traded.”

Sandoval says any additional revenues identified by Economic Forum should go to public education:

041211Sandoval2 :21 to the DSA.”

Sandoval says he is confused by Regents’ decision to put campus closures back on table as one way to deal with budget reductions:

041211Sandoval3 :27 have taken another.”

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