Guinn Opens Lines Of Communication

Governor Kenny Guinn
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Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn says he's stepping up communication with lawmakers between now and the 2005 legislative session in efforts to avoid a repeat of the impasse that stalled his budget this year.

The Republican governor plans to keep legislative and key business leaders up on exactly what's happening with different state programs, including how much they're affected by growth and by changes in federal and state laws and regulations.

"That way, they may still disagree, but they'll know what the numbers are and what's happening," he said Wednesday.

"That makes it easier for us, too," said Assembly Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, referring to the antitax group that held up final passage of the budget this year. "We may not like the taxes, but at least we'll know how they're being spent, whether they're doing some good."

But Hettrick also said Guinn's plan for increased communication doesn't guarantee that he and other lawmakers will support what the governor proposes in 2005.

Guinn said lawmakers will get regular briefings by e-mail, so that they understand why he makes the budget decisions he does over the next 18 months.

Guinn ran into problems during the 2003 session with lawmakers who disagreed vehemently with what he described as the needs of the state. They questioned the administration's projections on everything including welfare and Medicaid caseloads.

A group of 15 Assembly Republicans - just enough to prevent a two-thirds vote - held out until late July, demanding Guinn reopen and cut back the budget instead of approve tax increases.

Finally, Assemblyman John Marvel, R-Battle Mountain, was talked into breaking from the antitax group and backing a heavily modified $836 million tax plan.