Special Legislative Session on Taxes Continues

Nevada Legislature 2003
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Nevada lawmakers have scheduled floor sessions starting Tuesday as they continue to struggle with an impasse over a record tax increase needed to fill a nearly $870 million hole in the state budget.

The Senate will meet Tuesday to review more changes to its tax plan that failed by just one vote late Saturday. While Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio says a single, crucial amendment might work, other lawmakers said major revisions to the entire proposal might be needed.

The Assembly could be convened by Speaker Richard Perkins on Tuesday or Wednesday. The Assembly's tax plan also failed late Saturday, falling five votes shy of the needed two-thirds majority for any tax proposal.

The legislators, in special session since their regular 120-day session ended last Tuesday, are trying to fund the state's record $5 billion budget for the coming two fiscal years.

Republican Governor Guinn says he won't set a specific deadline. He hopes the session will end by next Thursday or Friday.

Guinn also says he's disappointed that the lawmakers couldn't conclude Saturday, but doesn't blame leadership.

In ordering the special session, Guinn said he was open to a wide range of new or increased taxes as long as they're broad-based. It's the third special session called in two years by the pro-tax governor.

Some Republicans say another session might be needed because Guinn didn't put the state budget on the agenda. They want to reopen the budget to reduce the amount of new revenue needed to about $700 million at most.

Guinn's reaction -- a blunt "Absolutely not." He already has signed into law the two main budget authorization and appropriation acts.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)