Budget hole could be $657 million

In a late night press conference, director of Administration Andrew Clinger said the potential budget hole created by the Supreme Court decision in the Clean Water Coalition case could strip $656.7 million from the governor's proposed budget.

He said the decision if read broadly could deny the state not only the $62 million in water use funding but the 9 cent property tax rate from Clark and Washoe counties worth some $121 million, the school bond reserves from nine Nevada counties estimated at $247 million and the indigent accident fund money - $39 million.

The governor's office is preparing an amendment to the budget to cure the shortfall. The plan is reportedly to lift the sunsets on the tax hikes approved by the 26th special session of the legislature, which would generate a net revenue increase of $643 million.

The question remains what will Senate Republicans who have staunchly refused to consider revenue increases, will react to that.

Sen. Mike Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said as a lawyer, "the ruling appears to be fairly broad" and could take the entire $650 million.

"I haven't heard anyone suggest how we can cut $650 million from this budget," he said.

But he refused to say he would support lifting the sunsets.

"We're analyzing the situation, then we're going to punt," said Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora.


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