Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons Delivers State of the State Address

CARSON CITY, Nevada (KOLOTV.com) -- Monday, January 22, 2007:

This evening, Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons delivered his first State of the State address to the state legislature. The speech took place in the Assembly Chamber in Carson City.

Gibbons wants to widen Interstate 80 in the Reno-Sparks area, between Robb Drive (west end of Reno) to Vista Boulevard (east end of Sparks). He also wants to widen U.S. Highway 395, between the Spaghetti Bowl and Stead Boulevard. Those projects would be part of $170 million in transportation projects around the state.

Gibbons is also proposing to spend money for fight the Silver State's methamphetamine problem.

As for education, one of the hot topics has been all-day kindergarten. The governor says he wants to spend $50 million to continue an existing pilot program.

The Governor's Office released a copy of his speech:

"Speaker Buckley, Majority Leader Raggio, Lieutenant Governor Krolicki, members of the Senate and Assembly, honorable Justices of the Supreme Court, constitutional officers, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens: It is indeed a pleasure to be here. As the 29th Governor of Nevada, I am humbled and privileged to appear before you tonight and excited to share my vision with you for the future of our great state of Nevada.

Before I do, I would like to thank my wife, Dawn, for her love, insight, guidance and support. As a former member of this Assembly, she’s no stranger to this process, and as First Lady she has already shown her effectiveness, particularly in raising public awareness of the dangers of methamphetamine use. I also want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my entire family for their many sacrifices and total dedication throughout my 18 years of public life. Thank you.

On this historic occasion, I would like to recognize a remarkable Nevadan who has persevered every day since arriving in Las Vegas in 1980. Please join me in saluting Barbara Buckley as the first female speaker in Nevada history. She and I have proven we can effectively work together, as we did in suspending the nurses’ strike in Las Vegas last month, and I am confident we can build upon our past success by mutually rejecting the counterproductive tug and pull of partisan politics. Please rise as I become the first Nevada Governor to say these words: Madame Speaker, I congratulate you and look forward to working with you to create long-term, meaningful results for all Nevadans.

I was first elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1989 and I am especially delighted to work again in this chamber. Tonight I would like to recognize my colleagues from that 1989 Assembly, who continue to devote countless hours working for the citizens of Nevada. Mr. Marvel, Mr. Carpenter, Mr. Arberry and Senator McGinness, it’s a pleasure to work with you again.

I want to also welcome incoming freshmen legislators Senator Joyce Woodhouse and Assembly members Bob Beers, David Bobzien, Ty Cobb, Ed Goedhart, Ruben Kihuen, James Ohrenschall, Tick Segerblom, James Settlemeyer, Lynn Stewart and Rosemary Womack. Welcome, and I look forward to working with you.

Lastly, I want to thank all of those people who agreed to serve on my transition team, especially former Governors List and Bryan and Lieutenant Governor Hunt. I value your input and support. And, as my friends in the press have pointed out, for the handful of you who are not on my transition team, I value your input, too.

As many of you know, I grew up in the railroad town of Sparks, Nevada, where I was raised by hard-working parents, Matilda and Leonard. My parents instilled in me the core values that have contributed greatly to my ability to fly a jet, become a lawyer, serve in Congress and now be a governor. They taught me at an early age about the power of partnership and the can-do pioneer attitude that makes us Nevadans different.

Nevada has changed so much since my childhood years in Sparks. I remember as a kid we would joke that there is one person for each of our 110,000 square miles in Nevada. Today, that ratio would be 22 times greater. When I graduated from Sparks High School in 1962, Washoe County had a population of 85,000, Clark County had 127,000, and Ormsby County had about 8,000.

By the year 2010, Clark County will have nearly two million residents and 170,000 hotel rooms--nearly as many rooms as in the combined cities of New York and Chicago. In that same period, Washoe County will grow to 500,000 residents and Carson City will have nearly 65,000.

It’s hard to believe that in less than 50 years our state has grown tenfold and Clark County 15-fold. These statistics force us to think differently, to adjust our mindset and become more innovative, especially when it applies to government. We simply cannot run the government the same way we’ve been doing it.

As I said in my inaugural speech, we now have a unique opportunity and challenge – to take the 143 years of growth and progress that has created the Nevada of today, and set a course for the future. A future that brings together the diverse communities and citizens of this great state into a common cause – One Nevada.

As a fighter pilot in Viet Nam and the Gulf War and former Vice Commander of the Nevada Air National Guard, I want to salute the men and women serving in our military around the globe. Nevada has one of the highest percentages of National Guard members serving in foreign lands, and a large number of them are engaged in the fight on terror in Iraq. On behalf of a profoundly grateful State, we appreciate everything they do to continue to defend our liberty.

At this time I would ask for a moment of silence for the 48 fallen Nevadans who, since 2001, have given their lives to protect ours.

On March 23, 2003, Nevada lost Marine Lance Corporal Donald J. Cline in Iraq, but his memory continues to live on through his family who joins us this evening. We must always remember those who have fallen for our freedom and we express our gratitude by recognizing Lance Corporal Cline’s two sons, Dillon and Dakota, and his loving wife, Tina. Thank you for being here. I also want to thank the Nevada Patriot Fund for raising private funds to support families like the Clines who have lost loved ones in war.

Because I have such confidence in the Guard and the lessons associated with military service, I am including in this budget $1.7 million to the Nevada National Guard Youth Challenge Program, where troubled youth can be educated and given the ability to start over.

My fellow Nevadans, our economy is robust, our workforce is teeming, our job growth is healthy and the unemployment rate is low; and for the first time as Governor, I am proud to announce that the state of our state is strong.

Over the past biennium, Nevada has once again exceeded the nation in economic growth. While Arizona has moved ahead of Nevada as the fastest growing state in the U.S., we’ve added more than 100,000 residents annually since 2004. Both personal income and employment have continued to grow at rates far above the national average.

While our state economy has greatly diversified over the past decade, gaming remains a driving force behind our revenue base. Several large new gaming projects are underway in Clark County and promise to further strengthen Nevada’s economic status. In this 75th year of legalized gaming in Nevada, optimism in the tourism markets remains high. It is estimated more than 41 million people will visit Las Vegas in 2009 – up from 35 million at the beginning of the decade.

The total number of jobs in Nevada grew by 58,000 between November 2005 and 2006 and job gains in Nevada continue to outpace the nation as a whole.

In order to sustain this economic strength, I firmly believe we need to form a new kind of government; one that is leaner, more responsive, a combine for new ideas, and most of all, a government that gives Nevadans the tools they need to make the most of their lives. This is my vision for Nevada.

I have submitted to you a seven-billion-dollar budget that does not include new or increased taxes, but squarely focuses attention on innovation and new thinking. During the campaign, I met with thousands and thousands of Nevadans, who think as I do, that we must streamline our government and make it more responsive –all while living within our means. I respectfully submit to you a budget that meets those objectives.

Additionally, this budget is $158 million below the spending cap that was first enacted in 1979, but has not affected the budget process until now. For the first time in our state’s history, a spending cap will govern how we build budgets and how we spend money. This is the new budget reality in Nevada, and I believe we should embrace it.

My budget also includes one-time appropriations to support vital areas of statewide community interest, including Opportunity Village in Las Vegas for $12 million; $10 million for the Nevada Cancer Institute; $10 million for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in Las Vegas; $6.5 million for courthouse improvements in White Pine County, $3.5 million for the Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease at the School of Medicine and $2 million for the Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno. These are critical Nevada assets, and I urge your approval.

Exercising fiscal discipline demands more than a promise of no new taxes; it requires having the willpower to save in good times for those downturns and unexpected hardships that will inevitably come.

We all recall the financial impacts our state absorbed after 9/11. To protect ourselves from man-made or natural catastrophes in the future, we must set aside money to shield our citizens from harm. My budget includes an additional $36 million to the rainy day fund for a total of $303 million. Some will argue it is not enough or too much, but nary a person can say this is not prudent planning.

The 9/11 Commission made many recommendations to promote the security of the nation. One of its findings concluded that the nation and the states are vulnerable because public safety responders cannot communicate as one entity in a time of crisis. We need to address our lack of radio capability among all first responders. I will work with the Legislature to find the necessary funds to construct the Nevada Four Core Public Safety Radio Network. The security of Nevadans, our tourists, and our economy demand this action.

During the campaign I promised Nevadans I would save them money. I will stand by my word. Tonight, I am proud to announce that I will be seeking a 4.6 percent decrease in the modified business tax, from .65 to .62 percent, resulting in $28 million in tax relief for 55,748 Nevada businesses. In addition, I am proposing to eliminate the $1,750 per branch excise tax for banks.

Key among the Nevada workforce are dedicated public employees, including state employees, university employees and teachers. We must continue to invest in this important group of workers, and I am proposing a six percent increase in pay for these hardworking individuals. I propose a two percent increase in the first year and a four percent increase in the second year, which will free up an additional $31 million in funds, which I will reallocate to cover future pension and health care costs for retired public employees.

If we don’t address the multi-billion-dollar health care liability today, we will be sticking our heads in the sand and pretending this serious issue doesn’t exist. As Nevada government leaders, we cannot afford to pretend.

Hand in hand with paying down the four-billion-dollar health care liability, I will be urging you to pass legislation to reconstitute the nine-member public employees benefit plan board in order to establish a new panel of experts and professionals who have the appropriate skill set to lead our state through what is a looming financial storm. Send me this legislation and I will sign it immediately.

Nevada has one of the highest rates of methamphetamine addiction in the country and the highest rate for people 12 years old and older…and everyone--I repeat, everyone--is at risk. The addiction has had a devastating impact on Nevada families, schools, the criminal justice system and the economy. However, with the right balance of awareness, treatment and prevention, this seemingly untamed demon drug can be overcome. Please join me in applauding Kendra Furlong, who appeared in the recent TV documentary Crystal Darkness, for her courage and honesty in talking publicly about meth addiction. Kendra, you and others like you who are conquering the addiction, are an inspiration to us all.

Earlier today, by executive order, I established a meth working group to be chaired by Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto and to consist of law enforcement, state agencies, legislators, the First Lady and others who are on the front lines fighting this epidemic. I have asked the working group to make recommendations to the Legislature on or before April 1 so that the Legislature can swiftly authorize the appropriate action and funding to strike a decisive blow against the traffickers of meth, while also helping those hooked on meth to break free.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the colossal struggle of our times, and it will require uncommon collaboration, compassion and coordination. Additionally, I have placed in this budget 10 new public safety officers to fight the rise of meth use and distribution in our communities, particularly in our rural communities, where the problems appear to be most acute. I have also included $2 million for the Department of Health and Human Services for meth education and treatment for a grand total of $17 million in this budget directed toward fighting the scourge of methamphetamine.

A top priority of my Administration will be to develop more affordable housing in Nevada. How often do we hear that workforce housing is not available for new hires or that a teacher or nurse can’t find an affordable home so they decide not to relocate? It is, in my opinion, far too frequent, and we must do something about it. I am directing that we establish a program to support the housing needs of teachers, nurses and other first-time homebuyers through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. It will be modeled after the California Housing Finance Agency and be self-supporting by selling bonds repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not by tax dollars.

Let’s start a similar program so we can help all Nevadans achieve the American dream of home ownership.

I am also proposing a major improvement to the Homestead Act by raising the amount of protection for property from $350,000 to $550,000. Nevada's escalating home prices require such a change. In our larger counties, I am proposing to do away with the fee for filing a homestead exemption for your primary property, and instead, allowing homesteading for second residences or vacation homes with a voluntary fee of 1/10 of 1 percent. This will stimulate real estate investment in Nevada and potentially create new revenue to be shared between the counties who collect it and the state.

No natural resource in the State of Nevada is as critical or as controversial as water. We have the driest state in the nation and one of the highest rates of growth – a combination that places tremendous stress on our precious water resources.

I will be asking the Desert Research Institute to conduct a water inventory for Nevada. Two key collaborators, the State Engineer’s office and the Desert Research Institute, will identify priority needs and collect information to reduce potential future conflicts. The initial two-year phase of this program will be funded with an appropriation of two million dollars. One clear way to enhance the current process is to ensure that the best scientific information is available for making decisions. There is no question that water data requires updating and expansion to ensure our economy grows and the quality of life is maintained in our rural counties.

This much needed updating is essential for future planning purposes, but must not be allowed to interfere with pending decision making in the State Engineer’s Office.

And, as the demand for water continues to increase, water conservation measures become critical in managing and extending our water resources. Conservation programs do not require the public to necessarily give up certain water uses; rather they encourage the public to engage in those uses more efficiently. We must become more water aware, and I urge all Nevadans to participate in using this resource more wisely.

I call upon the Legislature to pass a bill to prohibit the government from taking private property without the consent of the owner, and then conveying it to another private person or entity for redevelopment purposes.

I also respectfully request that the Legislature pass a constitutional amendment as an alternative to Question 2 on last year's ballot. This amendment should contain most of the provisions of Question 2 to protect property owners, but should modify some of the language which could cause significant delays and cost increases for our state and local transportation projects. Through the legislative hearing process, we should be able to find the proper way to balance the rights of property owners, taxpayers and motorists.

The Guinn Millennium Scholarship is one of the most important tools we have to enable the best and the brightest Nevada students to remain in Nevada for their higher education. The reality is that if we did nothing to save the program, it would be insolvent by 2013. I am directing an additional $5.6 million from unclaimed property receipts to shore up the scholarship fund and secure it for Nevada students far into the future. Part and parcel to stabilizing the Millennium Scholarship is acknowledgement that it must be streamlined in terms of eligibility standards, with greater emphasis placed on nursing, math, science and teaching degrees. I urge you to strengthen scholarship guidelines so Millennium Scholarships are available for our children’s children.

We have opened the doors to higher education through Millennium Scholarships, so we must be equally dedicated to raising standards, expectations and accountability in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Although full-day kindergarten has been labeled a top priority by the state’s superintendents and others, I respect their opinion, but I believe the fiscally responsible approach is to continue to support the existing pilot program at current funding levels in at-risk schools and, therefore, I have committed $50 million to do so. I strongly support maintaining this pilot program and look forward to utilizing the next 24 months to assess its benefits, to measure how effective the program is, and to gauge the infrastructure demands of introducing full-day kindergarten throughout the state. If the results are positive, we will pursue it next session. If they are not, we will have exercised good fiscal policy.

Today the institution of public education needs bold and decisive leadership to better respond to the challenges that confront us. Our current standings in education on a national and worldwide front are simply unacceptable.

I propose an innovative yet proven education plan known as Empowerment which will directly address the majority of the long-standing challenges in public education today: falling graduation rates, parental participation, teacher recruitment, funding inequities and lack of resources in the classroom. Parents will be empowered with school choice for their children, while principals and teachers will be able to decide at the individual school level how best and most effectively to teach their own unique population of students. Through this powerful program, we will empower our educators to be more responsive to their schools’ individual circumstances and the diversity of their student populations. And, teachers will be equitably paid for a job well done, based on tangible measures, and rewarded for results in student achievement.

Sitting with us tonight is the architect and father of the Edmonton Empowerment Program, Michael Strembitsky, who, for the better part of his adult life, has worked to change the education system parent by parent, teacher by teacher and student by student. We are so honored to have him here with us tonight. As Mr. Strembitsky can attest, in addition to raising achievement, the education empowerment model is fundamentally designed to increase both teacher pay and the prestige of becoming a teacher.

I will, therefore, be redirecting $60 million in the budget for an extensive Empowerment pilot program initially involving 100 schools that will be converting their operations to this bold new approach--an approach started in Canada 30 years ago and successfully working in New York City, Houston and San Francisco, where after five years, the San Francisco school district has shown steady growth and is now the top performing urban district in California.

Join me in changing our education system with a single bold stroke.

Two weeks ago, an incident in Las Vegas served us with yet another stark reminder of the constant danger gun violence presents on or near our school campuses. I will work with the Legislature to increase funding for school security throughout the state. If children don’t feel safe at school, we cannot expect them to feel secure enough to learn.

Our higher education system has eight institutions – two universities, one state college, four community colleges and one research institute. One has a medical school, one a dental school, seven have nursing colleges, and there are at least 200 programs spread throughout all eight institutions that are directly related to health sciences. Not only have these programs never been coordinated under one administrative structure, they have competed against each other to the detriment of the entire System.

We need to centralize these health science programs under one coherent management plan, and to do it, I am providing $110 million for the University of Nevada Health Sciences System, while another $47 million in matching funds will be raised through private donors across the state. This model of public-private partnership will set a valuable precedent for the future of higher education for Nevada.

There are too many Nevada highways becoming gridlocked, and transportation issues are increasingly central to the quality of life we enjoy. A well-functioning highway system is vital to Nevada’s economy and will be a major factor in how we move forward in the future.

My administration will aggressively pursue opportunities created through public-private cooperative efforts. To facilitate this, I have directed the Department of Transportation to create an Advisory Panel on Public-Private Initiatives to explore new opportunities for transportation improvements. Moreover, I have asked NDOT Director Susan Martinovich to make southern Nevada needs a priority for her department, including spending a considerable amount of her own time in Las Vegas, and she has agreed with great enthusiasm.

I am committing $170 million for highway projects that will be dedicated to help widen I-15 from the Spaghetti Bowl to the Apex Interchange, build new ramps at the I-15/215 Beltway interchange and an I-15 Freeway Management System, including message signs and closed-circuit television cameras. And in northern Nevada, we will be working toward widening I-80 from Robb to Vista and US 395 from the Spaghetti Bowl to Stead Boulevard.

An effort to fast-track proposed transportation projects must become the rule instead of the exception because bureaucratic delays dramatically increase the cost of each project, create job losses, and ultimately, we all suffer.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force evaluated Nevada’s growing transportation crisis and concluded that projects planned for 2008-2015 require at least an additional $3.8 billion in revenue. The Task Force’s “Roads to the Future” report was particularly useful and we will rely on it as a guideline going forward.

I wish to restate, however, that I will not support raising the gas tax.

No budget discussion is complete without working through the thicket of Medicaid and healthcare issues. Nevada’s Medicaid program provides essential health care services to low-income families as well as the frail, elderly and disabled. However, this entitlement program is increasingly consuming a larger share of the state budget. It is essential we reform Medicaid to assure it continues to provide health care services to so many in our community.

Many Nevadans in our Medicaid program find it increasingly difficult to access physician services they need. Fewer physicians are taking new Medicaid patients. Declining access is directly tied to how much Medicaid pays its physicians. On the national level, Congress recognized that reductions to Medicare physician fees would result in fewer doctors seeing patients.

Therefore, I am proposing to increase Nevada Medicaid physician payments up to the most recent federal Medicare fee schedule while also holding physicians responsible for the care they provide. At the same time, we need to encourage quality healthcare professionals and private healthcare providers to move to and stay in Nevada.

My budget proposes that individuals have access to a professional health care coordinator that would help them sort out our confusing health care system. Coordinating health care services in Medicaid is a key part of controlling Medicaid spending. However, we also need to explore alternatives for better managing what consumes almost 70 percent of the Medicaid budget. I propose we give Nevadans on Medicaid a choice in how they access their health care.

Clark County emergency rooms continue to have large numbers of mental health patients occupying beds in spite of significant service improvements, including the opening of the new Rawson Neal Psychiatric Hospital and the use of a state mobile crisis Assessment team to service local hospitals.

I am providing $7.5 million to assist in alleviating the ER crisis by opening an additional 22 acute care beds, bringing the total state funded beds in Clark County to 238.

My budget also provides for the continued funding of $2.8 million for triage centers in northern and southern Nevada. Triage centers reduce overcrowding and provide more efficient use of public and private resources.

My budget also provides six million dollars for funding of the mental health courts in Las Vegas, Reno, and Carson City. These programs have contributed to reduced criminal activity and hospitalization of the severely mentally ill.

I am also providing ongoing funding for the 90 community residential beds in Las Vegas that were temporarily funded by the 2005 Legislature. The availability of these community beds allows for reduced inpatient stays in psychiatric hospitals, saves tax dollars, and reduces overcrowding of local emergency rooms.

Nevada continues to stand out as having the fastest growing senior population in the nation. I want to enhance the availability of community based services to allow seniors to live in their homes and communities, rather than in nursing homes. I propose to increase the three Medicaid waivers serving Nevadans age 60 plus by 15 percent to allow seniors more options for community living.

I agree with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, who said, “Every American should have access to a full range of information about the quality and cost of their health care options.” I believe everyone deserves to know both the quality and cost of his or her health care. Our communities, health care leaders and partners can join together to define and establish benchmarks for measuring quality care, understanding healthcare price, and the cost for care.

The 2005 Legislature passed Senate Bill 357 to fund treatment and prevention programs for problem gambling. Treatment programs previously available only in Las Vegas or Reno are now available in Elko, Ely, Fallon, Hawthorne, Lovelock, Pioche, and Stateline.

My budget includes funding to continue state-supported initiatives with full-time administrative staff to move Nevada from the back seat to the driver’s seat in responsible gambling.

Two strategic areas that will receive special attention in my administration will be the needs for greater economic development and energy independence.

I have included in the executive budget $10 million in unclaimed property receipts to create a dynamic new economic development program, modeled after the hugely successful program in Georgia. Working with Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki, we will launch this new program to work with the best of Nevada’s research facilities in creating new high-tech/biotech and renewable energy types of industries. Funds will be used to hire world-class researchers who will bring their work to Nevada. This will provide high-end jobs for Nevadans and is ideally suited for the current 38,000 millennium scholars graduating in the coming years.

Rural Nevada businesses are often the engines for economic development and tourism in their rural communities, and my administration is examining creative ways to provide economic stimulus in rural Nevada. We need to look for more ways to increase energy independence because Nevada offers one of the best opportunities for the development of renewable energy. I applaud the action the Legislature took last session to ramp up the incentives for greater production of solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy, but we also must increase the diversity and supply of all fuels and not allow ourselves to become too reliant on one fuel source.

After visiting with Wyoming Governor Freudenthal and seeing what his state is doing, I will encourage the creation of a coal-to-liquids fuels plant in Nevada, similar to the successful plant in Wyoming. It would use existing rail to transport coal to the plant and convert that coal to diesel and jet fuel for use at airports. It could also create natural gas to be injected into a natural gas pipeline for domestic use.

I will recommend continuing to provide incentives to the utilities to improve the environment, reduce greenhouse gases, stimulate job growth, hedge against fossil fuel volatility and help guarantee availability. Additionally, through executive order, I will direct State Purchasing to do more performance-based contracting on all state buildings for energy and water conservation retrofits. These efforts will be financed through the savings generated by conservation and require no additional state funds. And to accomplish these energy goals, we will need a stronger state energy office.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the first Lake Tahoe Summit, where our delegation, along with California, recognized the national treasure of Lake Tahoe and collectively made a $908 million commitment to protecting and enhancing this wonder of the Sierra.

I am pleased to report that Nevada has made good on that promise. To date, we have committed $72 million to environmental improvement projects in the Tahoe Basin, and the Lake is cleaner and clearer as a result. I support the final installment for the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program and, this summer, at the annual summit, we will reaffirm Nevada’s commitment to the protection of Lake Tahoe.

I will also be working with our delegation and the BLM toward preserving wildlife habitat after wildfires blackened more than 1.3 million acres across Nevada last year, primarily in Elko County, where most of the habitat damage occurred.

The last two years have seen significant tactical victories in our long and tough battle to keep Nevada from becoming the nation's nuclear waste dump. That effort, with the leadership of our delegation, must continue, which is why I have doubled Nevada's legal effort. As Senator Reid has said, now is not the time to claim victory, but rather to finish the job and end this unwise, unscientific and politically punitive program.

The voting public is concerned that there is not enough transparency in Nevada’s election process. These concerns often frustrate voters to a point where they choose not to participate in the political process altogether.

I intend to work with the Legislature and Secretary of State Ross Miller to develop an on-line system in which contributions are reported more frequently. Current state law only requires disclosure of contributions in excess of $100 three times annually.

That is not good enough. I will ask the Legislature to require that state candidates show their full Contributions and Expenses Report before early voting begins. Voters have a right to know who is financing campaigns before they cast a ballot.

During last year’s campaign, I met with many concerned Nevadans regarding legislation protecting our families from sex offenders. I will ask the Legislature to require out-of-state sex offenders to submit DNA samples, require registration prior to release from prison and 30-day re-registration for transient offenders, and expansion of the global positioning system program that forces pedophiles and sex offenders to wear bracelets so that they do not go undetected in our communities. As it should be, offenders would pick up the cost of the GPS bracelet as a condition of parole. I ask for your support in aggressively tracking these sexual predators that live among us.

The surplus revenue that we have today came about because Nevada remains one of the best places in the world to relocate or grow a business. I believe it is my job to foster a business climate that encourages investment in our state and to have government help when necessary and get out of the way where possible.

Changing the way we view and fund education, creating fresh alternatives for affordable housing, broadening the Homestead Act, cracking down on sex offenders, strengthening the importance of public-private partnerships in government planning, reforming Medicaid, prioritizing transportation funding and doing it all without raising taxes…some have reported it as radical; I consider it responsible.

There is much to do – and tomorrow the budget committees begin their work. It will require a valiant effort by each of us, and a willingness to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, as one Nevada, we can do anything.

We will not always agree, but I give you my solemn word that when we do disagree, it will be with honor, respect and civility. Nevadans deserve no less.

In closing, I can assure you that I have not forgotten my early life lessons about the power of partnership and the importance of the pioneer can-do attitude that makes us Nevadans different.

I am proud to be your Governor. God bless America. And God bless the Great State of Nevada. Thank you."


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