Gibbons preparing budget plan for stimulus funds

Gov. Jim Gibbons says in a newly posted podcast that he is preparing a "budget supplement" with his recommendations for how to use the money the state is getting from the federal stimulus bill.

"It's important to know what the stimulus dollars will and will not do," Gibbons says. "The stimulus money will not erase the multibillion-dollar budget deficit facing the state, and it will not alleviate the need for elected officials in Carson City to make tough decisions to balance the budget. Stimulus dollars will, however, allow the state to offset some budget reductions."

Some, but not all. As Gibbons notes, even with the $1.5 billion shot in the arm from the feds, cuts will still have to be made.

Gibbons stresses that since the stimulus money is a one-time thing, it shouldn't create obligations that the state will have to meet down the road.

"I will not support any use of stimulus dollars to create new or expanded government programs that will require continued funding from the estate," he says. "The stimulus dollars are meant to slow down the economic downturn and preserve core government services. These dollars should not be seen as an opportunity to fund pet projects."

Nevada's increasing unemployment has increased the state's Medicaid caseload, Gibbons notes, and "we have a social and moral responsibility to ensure that Nevadans who lose their jobs through no fault of their own are not left in the cold when it comes to health care."

The stimulus bill gives the state $450 million in Medicaid funds. By offsetting money the state otherwise would have devoted to that purpose, that money will free up funding that the state can then devote to other areas, such as education, Gibbons says.

This is the fourth podcast that Gibbons has recorded. The short taped segments in which he speaks directly to the camera give him a way to get his image and message out without submitting to media interviews and tough or off-topic questions.

In a longstanding, somewhat embarrassing typo, the state's home page continues to refer to it as "Jim Gibbon's web site," as if he were a species of ape.