Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley told a business group today that continuing to “cut, cut, cut” the state budget in response to revenue shortfalls will damage Nevada in the long run.
Echoing a presentation she’s been giving at town halls around the state for several months, Buckley, D-Las Vegas, told the North Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce a “balanced approach” that doesn’t cut teacher salaries will be necessary to get the state out of its current hole.
Buckley didn’t go into specifics about what she plans to propose, especially when it comes to increasing state revenue — raising taxes — to avoid an estimated $2.4 billion in cuts to current state service levels over the coming two years for which the Legislature budgets.
Gov. Jim Gibbons, a Republican who has vowed not to increase most taxes, is scheduled to present his budget proposals Thursday, when he will deliver his State of the State address.
Buckley is scheduled to present the Democratic response to Gibbons’ speech. She said it’s hard to be specific without knowing what Gibbons will say, but she plans to present constructive proposals rather than merely objecting to Gibbons’ plans.
Buckley told the small group of assembled business people that she’s been gathering ideas for possible “solutions” that can be examined and hashed out by the Legislature after it convenes next month.
Among the proposals she favors: getting rid of outdated tax breaks and wasteful use of economic-development funds; reforming but not eliminating public-employee retirement benefits.
Education, she said, must be improved as the basis of future prosperity, a view that others in the room echoed.
“I know that together we can come up with solutions for our state that will allow us to continue our progress,” Buckley said.
Contact reporter Molly Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919.