Monday, April 25, 2011 | 8:46 p.m.
Senate Republicans rebuffed an effort Monday by Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, to force a vote in the full Senate on Gov. Brian Sandoval’s education budget cuts.
After Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, read a statement supporting Sandoval’s budget, the 10 Republicans sat still, refusing to participate in a show of hands vote on whether to cut kindergarten through 12th grade education funding.
“Let me cut to the chase here, I’m supporting the governor’s budget,” state Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said when it became clear Horsford intended to hold a series of votes on individual cuts to education proposed by Sandoval. “We don’t have to go through line item process. Put me down however you want, I’m supporting the governor’s budget.”
McGinness chided Horsford for using the floor of the Senate to poll lawmakers, then read his statement calling Sandoval’s budget a responsible way to deal with state spending in a recession.
“Yes, we are open for discussion and compromise on the budget, but tax increases will not and should not be part of the solution,” McGinness said.
McGinness said his statement, a blanket support for Sandoval’s budget, stood in lieu of his caucus’ vote on any of the education measures Horsford wanted to gauge support for.
“We have three weeks before these budgets have to be closed and if it’s a majority vote, then it’s a majority vote,” Horsford said. “But we gotta know if we are going down one path or another.”
Reminiscent of a similar budget hearing in the Assembly last week, Senate Democrats opposed the budget. The Senate hearing mostly avoided the acrimony that marred the Assembly debate, but exhibited no less intransigence on both sides of the aisle.
“To me the governor’s budget is unacceptable,” Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said. “I won’t vote for it. I will not.”