Sandoval, Reid, trade barbs on Nevada budget planning
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Republican gubernatorial hopeful Brian Sandoval and Democrat Rory Reid traded barbs Wednesday over dealing with Nevada’s immediate $1 billion budget shortfall, with both accusing the other of being shortsighted.
The exchange followed a story published in the Reno Gazette-Journal, in which Reid said state leaders must move away from “short-term thinking,” but offered no immediate solutions to the state budget crisis.
Sandoval, in a written statement, responded, “It is unacceptable that a candidate seeking the most important office in this state would not offer a plan, or even a single idea, to deal with our current fiscal crisis.”
“At a time when Nevada needs a leader most, Rory Reid has abandoned the citizens of this state. His actions are not only very telling, but quite disturbing,” Sandoval said.
Reid, in a telephone interview, countered, “What we need isn’t a press release. We need a thoughtful and deliberate response.”
Sandoval earlier this month issued a plan that among other things called for cutting teacher and state worker salaries by 4 percent and reducing benefits. He also proposed eliminating subsidies for Medicare retirees and the subsidy for all retirees leaving state service after next July.
Sandoval said his plan would save $500 million, a claim criticized by incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons and Reid, who said the math doesn’t add up. Since then, the state shortfall has ballooned to nearly $1 billion.
Reid pointed to the doubling of the deficit in such a short time as validation that more deliberate analysis, consultation and public hearings are needed before a plan is announced.
“Brian put out his spreadsheet two weeks ago, and it’s already 50 percent off,” Reid said. “You have to make sure you have all the facts, reach out to the public, before you take action.”
Reid said he will weigh in on the budget crisis after meeting with fiscal experts and talking with legislators.
He also accused Sandoval of playing politics by suggesting Reid would raise taxes.
“I think it’s unfortunate that Brian Sandoval is injecting politics into a very serious fiscal crisis,” he said. “I’ve said to you and every other person who’s asked me that raising taxes is not the answer in a time like this.”
Gibbons is holding meetings with legislative leaders and plans a special State of the State address on Feb. 8, during which he will announce a special session of the Legislature. After a closed meeting with lawmakers Tuesday, Gibbons said no concrete decisions have been reached on how to cut the budget.
Sandoval, a former state attorney general, resigned as a federal judge in September to seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Reid, chairman of the Clark County Commission, is the son of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Mike Montandon, former North Las Vegas mayor, also is running as a Republican.