Lawmakers Concerned About New Budget Figures

While cuts in the nearly seven billion-dollar Nevada budget may not have to be as deep as lawmakers had initially feared, Assembly Ways and Means Chairman Morse Arberry says the spending plan is still --quote-- "full of holes."

Arberry commented in discussing a new estimate of about 48 million dollars in reductions, atop earlier cuts of 112 million dollars outlined by Governor Jim Gibbons in the proposed budget for the next two fiscal years.

Revenue projections made last week by the state Economic Forum
indicated the need for additional cuts as high as 75 million dollars. But a follow-up Taxation Department analysis shows that the money the state must by law provide to local schools, to offset any shortfalls in local sales or property taxes, is about 48 million dollars.

While the lower figure helps budget-drafters, there's still uncertainty over a bill approved by lawmakers to erase big tax breaks for "green" construction projects. If the bill, which Gibbons has said he may veto, is interpreted broadly, the state funds going to the schools would have to increase - and the state's revenue shortfall would climb.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)