Nevada Governor Discusses $800 Million-Plus Budget Shortfall

CARSON CITY (AP) - Governor Gibbons will meet with top lawmakers
and hold a media briefing Monday to outline his preliminary plans
for dealing with a state revenue budget shortfall now expected to
exceed $800 million by mid-2009.

The Republican governor, who already has imposed 4.5 percent budget cuts to cope with the shortfall, didn't release his latest projection in advance of Monday's events. But Senate and Assembly
leaders who compared Gibbons' projections with higher estimates
from their own analysts say the governor's figure would easily top
$800 million.

The shortfall projections, which have increased fourfold since last September, were updated following last week's grim economic news of a continuing slump in sales by Nevada merchants. Also, the state is dealing with higher-than-average unemployment.

The state's cut of sales taxes is now $61 million, or 5.7 percent, below forecasts for the current fiscal year. A recent Gaming Control Board report showed that the state's taxes on casino winnings are $48.2 million, or 8.5 percent, below forecasts for the same period.

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

AP-NY-03-30-08 1834EDT