Republicans in the state Senate shot back late Thursday at Senate majority leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, for an e-mail he sent Thursday morning blasting "extreme right-wing interests" seeking to "use the budget crisis to dismantle our state."
The Horsford e-mail marked an end of three days of generally positive bipartisan rhetoric from Carson City following the inauguration of Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who earlier today declined to engage in partisan bickering with Horsford.
Senate Republicans, however, didn’t shy away from the challenge.
Senate minority leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, and Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, the second ranking Republican, sent an e-mail blast calling Horsford’s e-mail, "irresponsible and inaccurate."
"On the heels of Governor Sandoval’s inclusive Inaugural remarks and in the midst of legislative Republicans signaling a willingness to work with Democrats to deal with some incredibly difficult issues, Senator Horsford’s comments are both strange and troubling," McGinness wrote.
Cegavske added: "Senate Republicans have been working hard to look for solutions to a budget crisis caused by over-spending State revenues. We are working with interested leaders from all parties and ideologies, seeking better ways to improve government and save taxpayer money."
Democrats have an 11-10 advantage in the Senate and Horsford has in the past called on gambling and other industries to pay more taxes to maintain funding for education and social services. Sandoval and many Republicans have insisted the budget can be balanced without tax increases, despite estimates that revenue for 2011-13 will be $5.3 billion, or about 17 percent less than 2009-11 general fund revenue of $6.4 billion.
Sandoval is expected to deliver a budget by Jan. 24, the day of his first State of the State address. If Horsford were to devise a budget of his own during the 120-day session that begins Feb. 7 that includes a tax increase he would need 14 votes to override a Sandoval veto.