This is not a glass half full or half empty thing. This one person seeing the glass as full and the other as empty.
That was the difference between reactions by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and Republican legislative leaders after the Economic Forum on Wednesday forecast that the state would get an extra $42 million to spend over the next two years based on the current tax structure. That’s less than 0.5 percent of the current projected general fund budget of $8.8 billion.
But Sisolak said in a statement:
Today’s Economic Forum report shows that Nevada has the fastest growing economy in the country and continues to outpace the rest of the nation in terms of job growth. We’ve also made significant progress in diversifying our economy over the last decade, and I am committed to ensuring economic development is a priority for Nevada in the years ahead so our economy can keep pace with our robust population growth.
In addition to the Economic Forum reporting increased stability in our state’s employment and economy, it also showed we will receive an additional $42.8 million in projected revenue for Fiscal Years 19-21. While the first Economic Forum report of my administration is positive overall, we must do more to ensure our economic success reaches every Nevadan across the state – and that starts with our educators and working families.
The Republicans saw things differently.
Republican Assemblyman Al Krammer reacted by saying:
I am concerned about much of the proposed legislation that has yet to reach the governor’s desk. The Economic Forum showed us that we are facing an imminent slowing of growth in Nevada’s economy. From rolling back measures that will cost the state millions to pushing legislation that will increase the cost of doing business in Nevada, we will accelerate and compound the effects resulting in a longer and deeper economic downturn.
Assembly Republican Leader Jim Wheeler said the governor’s no new taxes promises will be put to the test:
In its simplest terms, the Governor and the Democrats are trying to spend more money than is available. How will Democrats keep their promise to teachers and unions while still balancing the state budget? Nevada’s booming economy is benefiting from the reforms and policies under Republican leadership. Now is not the time for budget experiments that will constrict our economic growth.
He is talking about things like hiking the minimum wage and killing low-skill jobs, about repealing the law that cut the prevailing wage require on school buildings to 90 percent of the union base and giving 3 percent salary hikes to all state workers and teachers, plus 2 percent merit raises each year for teachers. In the past 99.75 percent of state teachers have been rated highly effective or effective. Those raises will also require higher contributions for pensions.
Don’t forget, Sisolak’s total state budget, not the general fund, for the next two years is nearly a 12 percent increase over the past two years, though inflation has been less than 2.5 percent.