Gibbons says cuts, not taxes, key to fixing Nevada’s budget
August 12, 2008
Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons covered the state’s current budget woes, and the spending cuts which should remedy them, in a speech Monday to the Rotary Club of Incline Village at the Parasol-Tahoe Community Nonprofit Center.
Gibbons, who ate lunch with the Rotarians, addressed them with his vision for Nevada to emerge from the current budget crunch.
“What kind of a state do we want Nevada to be in the future?” Gibbons asked. He answered his own question by emphasizing efficiency in spending and cutting the fat from state government programs.
“When the revenues aren’t there, you only have one course of action – reduce spending. It’s what your family does when there isn’t as much money to go around. We live within our means,” Gibbons said.
The governor said he has been pressured to increase taxes since taking office in January 2007 and watching a rapidly inflating budget deficit – up from more than $100 million to more than $1 billion in a calendar year.
That isn’t his plan, though.
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“I’ve made every agency reduction that I could – took everything I could out of the rainy-day fund, postponed every capital-improvement project – and there are still a lot of people out there who felt we should be raising taxes,” Gibbons said. “The only way to address this situation, though, is to reduce spending and increase efficiency.”
Gibbons pointed to the Silver State’s most populous neighbor – California – as an example of why increasing taxes doesn’t work. California is considering an income-tax increase, which Gibbons said will hit businesses and wealthy individuals hard.
“Prepare yourself for the exodus of California,” Gibbons said. “California will go after people on their income, and in turn, those people may move their revenue and businesses. Nevada could be the beneficiary of that.”
The governor said Nevada will try to court those businesses by keeping taxes low but remained vague on what kinds of industries Nevada could lure from its neighbor.
“We are looking at all types of industries, mostly manufacturing and high tech, though,” Gibbons said. “We have a huge work force in this state that is unemployed, and we can train them for the kinds of jobs employers would need.”