Here's hoping that Gov. Gibbons doesn't cut anymore of the budget for the states' museums. They were the hardest hit in the spring when they became part-time employees. There are fears that the governor will try to keep the state afloat by closing all state-sponsored museums.
But there may be some good news for those beleagured employees.
According to Cy Ryan at the Las Vegas Sun:
Despite the continuing bad economic news, Gov. Jim Gibbons says he’s not planning on calling a special session of the Legislature — at least at this time.
He says his administration is continuing to look at ways to adjust the state budget so it doesn’t fall into the hole.
“When we get to a point where we can no longer make those adjustments to the state’s budget, based on executive orders, we will have to, by necessity, consider a special session,” he said.
He said he is going to bring in legislators in the interim to “offer their input.” He said he has already talked to legislators. Pressed, he said he conferred with Republicans Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio and Sen. Randolph Townsend, both of Reno.
Asked if he has talked with any Democrats that control both houses, Gibbons said he hasn’t after reading reports in the Las Vegas Sun. “All the reports show they have made their decision.”
Asked what those Democratic decisions are, Gibbons replied, “I’m only believing what I read in your reports...”
Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said she has never been contacted by the governor about a special session and hasn’t made any comments to the Sun about it.
She said it’s too early to make a decision whether to convene a special session. She said a conclusion could be made in October or November when more tax revenue information is available.
While Nevada leads the nation in economic problems, she said, it’s too soon to make a judgment whether this will turn around.
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, said he would be willing to meet with the governor at any time to discuss the state’s business. But he hasn’t talked with Gibbons since near the end of the 2009 Legislature in early June.
He said it was “premature” to discuss a special session. He said there have been periodic updates from the fiscal staff of the Legislature on the condition of the state.
Gaming and sales taxes are the two biggest revenue producers for the state, and both are down.
The state Gaming Control Board says the state collected $655 million in taxes from casinos in the last fiscal year, down from the $663 million predicted by the Economic Forum on which the state budget is based. Collections from the sales tax are down by $8.1 million below their forecast for the first 11 months of last fiscal year.
Only the governor can call a special session of the Legislature. And the regular session of the Legislature doesn’t convene until February 2011.
Gibbons said his administration was “very conservative” in its approach to the budget last February. But the Legislature increased taxes $1.1 billion over his veto, he said. “Still we are seeing a lack of revenue to meet the spending requests of the last Legislature.”
The governor made his statement to reporters after a meeting of the state Board of Examiners, which agreed to delay for two more months the requirement for employees in the state prison system to take one day off a month to save money.
The Department of Corrections says it needs to keep these prison employees working to ensure public safety and it needs more time to plan for the furloughs. This delay in the prison furlough plan will cost the state $630,172 since these employees won’t lose more than 4 percent in salary every month, as other department workers do.
Gibbons said the prisons need more time to plan how this furlough procedure will be accomplished. Gibbons is chairman of the three-member examiners board.