June 22, 2008

Nevada: Special Session Postponed (Sort Of)

In the wake of news that Nevada's projected budget deficit will be larger than previously estimated, Governor Jim Gibbons has postponed the start of his special legislative session on the budget deficit from next Monday to Friday. The news isn't good:
[T]he new shortfall figure lawmakers must deal with when they convene on Friday is $250 million, more than a $243 million shortfall projected by state Budget Director Andrew Clinger. And far above the $94 million projected by legislative fiscal analysts.
A Gibbons representative made it clear that with the expanded deficit, all policy options were on the table-- except for half of them:
Josh Hicks, general counsel to Gibbons, said every type of potential budget cut is on the table for the session, from 4 percent cost-of-living raises set to take effect July 1 for state employees and public teachers, to cuts to programs. Tax increases, he said, "are not on the governor's table."
Of course, when you've already identified $900 million of spending cuts without a single tax hike, what's another $250 million? The Governor's single-minded approach to resolving the state's fiscal crisis reminds me of this exchange from the John Belushi-Dan Ackroyd classic "The Blues Brothers":
Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?
Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western.


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