Nevada’s real deficit: $3 billion?

You can sense the urgency by the hushed whispers in the halls of the Legislature. Democrat lawmakers hate the Governor’s budget, which relies on spending cuts. They prefer to increase spending and pay for it with more taxes. But when real-world revenue shortfalls are projected over legislative spending increases, the calculation for the shortfall tops at least $2 billion. That’s a public number that makes even the most unabashed advocates of higher taxes and bigger government gulp.

But the buzz on this weekend’s cocktail circuit in Las Vegas paints a bleaker picture. Folks with a glimpse of Southern Nevada’s economic woes and the state’s internal numbers tell me that Nevada’s revenue decline, which has yet to fully manifest itself, may shoot the deficit close to $3 billion.

That’s big trouble for a Legislature that historically has never seen years of over spending as the real problem.

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