Nevada Budget Shortfall Could Hit $800 Million

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The Gibbons administration is developing new revenue projections that could be far worse than a January report showing a $500 million-plus shortfall by mid-2009. Now that figure may balloon to nearly $800 million.

Analysts already have some gloomy reports on key revenue sources, including a March 7 Gaming Control Board report showing a 5 percent drop in the casino win in January compared with the same month a year ago.

By the end of next week they should get another critical report on January sales. The most recent sales report, showing a 1 percent decline in December, came out at the end of February. Taxes based
on gambling and sales are the main state revenue sources.

State Budget Director Andrew Clinger said "unofficial" word of a revenue shortfall nearing $800 million by mid-2009 is "not something I'm ready to talk about."

If the official shortfall estimate approaches $800 million, Clinger said more budget cuts would be needed, atop the 4.5 percent cuts for most government agencies already ordered by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)