Sandoval Urges More Spending for Education, No Tax Hikes

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RENO -- Governor Brian Sandoval is pitching a plan he says will increase funding for education, while at the same time not raising taxes.

"I haven't been supportive of increasing taxes for anybody we are still struggling in this state," he said in an interview with KOLO Tuesday.

Sandoval's budget includes $120 million in additional funding for education.

"Approximately forty million dollars is going to go to classroom size reduction in kindergarten," he said. Sandoval said class sizes would go from twenty-six students to twenty-one.

His plan also includes fifty million dollars for English language learners. "For the first time in the history of Nevada, there will be a dedicated funding stream toward English language learners," he said.

The plan also includes an expansion of all-day kindergarten.

Sandoval said this plan can be funded without tax increases because of the state's better economic outlook.

With only twenty days left in the legislative session, Sandoval said he has been "constantly" meeting with legislative leadership. However, he said only twelve bills have reached his desk so far, and he hopes to consider more bills soon.

Democrats have pitched several tax ideas aimed at funding education -- including a payroll tax increase and entertainment tax. Some Republicans have suggested increasing taxes on mining. However, Sandoval said it's not an idea he has supported. "I think it's important to have a business atmosphere not only for all businesses but for mining to continue," Sandoval said.

He also said he does not think increases in sales and property taxes are wise when people are still "struggling." A bill in the assembly proposes increases in both taxes for Washoe County residents in order to repair schools. Sandoval said he approved more funding during the last session for school maintenance.

The regular session of the legislature will conclude in early June.