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Deep cuts but no new taxes in Nevada governor’s budget

July 7, 2020 GMT

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — As Nevada struggles with nation-topping unemployment and enormous revenue loss facing the state’s gambling and hospitality industries, Gov. Steve Sisolak released a report on Monday evening proposing measures to plug the state’s estimated $1.2 billion budget shortfall.

The report calls for “deep cuts in services and proposals” and says budget balancing efforts addressed in the Legislature’s upcoming special session will not include passing any new taxes.

“Considering any new revenue streams would require substantial time to setup, administer, and implement, they are not viable as an immediate option to address this emergency situation,” the report says.

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The Legislature, however, may consider “augmenting existing major revenue sources” by raising taxes.

“If the legislature is able to move a revenue package forward, with the two-thirds vote required, the Governor is willing to consider the legislation,” the report said.

Nevada levies no state income tax on its residents. The state funds most of its budget with tax revenue from the gambling and hospitality industries, both of which are highly susceptible to economic booms and busts.

The news presents a setback for labor unions representing state workers and teachers, who have clamored for the state to diversify its revenue streams rather than make cuts since the onset of the pandemic.

Instead, the report says, “the actions proposed to address the current shortfall are similar to the actions taken by the State during prior recessions in Nevada.”

Lawmakers are set to convene for a special legislative session Wednesday. Sisolak announced the tentative date last week yet neither he nor legislative leaders have issued an official proclamation outlining the duration and parameters of the session.