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BLOG: State of the State address

Updated Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 | 6:57 p.m.

Statement from Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid

  • "We find the Governor’s proposal to be shortsighted and irresponsible. Clark County is a partner with the state in providing services to the citizens most in need, whether they are jobless, homeless, or abused and neglected. The Governor is simply avoiding making the tough decisions. Instead, he is trying to pass these difficult choices on to local governments. The Governor has often said that state government needs to live within its means, just like Nevada’s families do. We wish the governor would take his own advice instead of forcing county taxpayers to offset the shortfalls in his budget."

6:56 p.m.

"I see a future in which a resilient and resourceful Nevada - a Battle Born Nevada - proves once again that her prosperity has been no accident."

He said he believes in Nevada and the future. Bipartisan applause.

He repeats his "One Nevada" theme from two years ago.

"Thank you, God bless you, God bless Nevada and good night."

The speech was 55 minutes. Applause at the end was sustained.

6:54 p.m.

Said Nevada faced worse problems during the mining depression of the 1880-1890s and during the Great Depression.

He brings up the "One Sound State" campaign of the 1930s, "which focused on attracting businesses to Nevada by publicizing our business-friendly climate."

New biggest applause line of the night when he brings up renewable energy potential in Nevada.

Said he will increase renewable energy portfolio standards and extend renewable energy tax incentives.

6:47 p.m.

Brings up that he's working with California Gov. Schwarzenegger on a high-speed train to connect the states.

Wishes President-elect Obama success. He said how important federal aid is to the state.

He vows that if things improve, he will restore funding to programs and salary levels to our state personnel.

He thanks department heads and budget director Andrew Clinger for putting together budget. Has Clinger stand up, and, as my colleague Patrick Coolican just mentioned, it's the biggest applause line of the night.

6:43 p.m.

A new policy proposal. He said he will form a "Sunset Commission" to review agencies, boards and commissions to ensure that their ongoing operations and budgets are justified. This would be an extension of the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission.

Praises the work of SAGE, and says the bipartisan group has surpassed even his high expectations.

He urges bipartisanship.

"Grandstanding and partisan bickering benefits no one in this state, and Nevadans deserve better," he said.

6:36 p.m.

To maintain services, we have had to make spending reductions in other areas. Mentions cuts to Nevada State Higher Education. Gibbons doesn't mention that the cut is 36 percent.

Now he's into cutting payroll.

"We really have only two choices: we can either lay people off or we can keep Nevadans working."

Brings up the 6 percent pay cuts. Say he will restore them as soon as we can. Silence from the audience.

Says alternatives are laying off thousands of state workers.

6:30 p.m.

Says other state governors are looking at taxes, debt or layoffs.

Says he will not accept it. Scattered applause. Only Republicans, and it looked like some sat on their hands.

"I take no joy in submitting a budget that eliminates, reduces, or changes many things that we have grown to expect in Nevada - many things we have taken for granted when times have been good, and many programs we have added when times have been great."

He said decisions "have been agonizingly difficult. We have spent hundreds of hours working on these numbers to create a fiscally responsible budget that sustains us through the next two years."

He gets his first bipartisan applause line. "This is your tax money and you deserve a voice in how it is spent."

He challenges those (Democrats) who want to look at tax structure.

"Show me a state with a more dependable, diversified tax system, that does not have the same kind of revenue problems we have today."

Now he switches in to preserving services. Says we have maintained Nevada Check-Up (which will be capped and other things. He said the he has funded Nevada's Early Intervention Services, and indeed, he included an additional $6 million over the biennium to absorb increase in the next two years.

"I will not allow these children to fall through the cracks," he said. (I believe that may have been the first time Speaker Barbara Buckley has applauded.)

6:15 p.m.

Gibbons acknowledges we fared worse than other states are faring.

He lists woes of industries. "Even our mining industry has slowed down following worldwide decreases in the price of minerals, such as copper, molybdenum and lithium." No mention of gold, which is doing well, and some people want to target for more taxes.

Laying out grim picture of our state.

"Too many do not even have money for the basics and are making decisions between heating their homes and buying needed medications."

"Nevada government should meet the needs of the people; people should not meet the needs of Nevada government."

He delivers the line 14 minutes in, Republicans applaud. It's his first applause line.

6:10 p.m.

Gibbons walked in to applause, somewhere between polite and tepid. He starts by honoring elected officials, member of a K-9 drug dog group. Salutes a Lt. Col. and honors veterans in the audience. Gibbons is a veteran of two wars. Seven minutes in, he's onto the meat of the speech.

"Many of our fellow citizens are losing their homes, losing their retirement savings, and losing their ability to continue to work and prosper in our state."

5:59 p.m.

Gov. Jim Gibbons will repeat his pledge not to raise taxes and acknowledge the hard times in Nevada during his state of the state speech to be delivered shortly, according to his prepared remarks.

"We have been that 'beacon on the hill' of hope for those who wanted to work hard and prosper," his speech reads. "While right now our beacon may not be as easy to see, it is our responsibility to ensure that we can help bring back the bright light of success to shine across the state."

He is set to say that raising taxes would only "make our citizens' problems worse."

Gibbons is entering to a smattering of applause.

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