Saturday, June 4, 2011 | 5:31 p.m.
In a 15-6 vote, the Nevada Senate passed three of the five bills needed to process the $6.2 billion general fund budget agreed to by legislative leaders and Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Eschewing the traditional speeches that cap a difficult budget debate, senators quietly voted on the bill to authorize state spending, fund the capital improvements plan and pay state workers.
The Assembly is expected to act on those bills, as well as the bill funding the state’s school districts, later this evening. The education bill includes another $500 million in funding from room and other local taxes, bringing the total budget agreement to $6.7 billion.
Five Senate Republicans voted against the budget bills: Senators Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas; Greg Brower, R-Reno; Don Gustavson, R-Sparks; Elizabeth Halseth, R-Las Vegas; Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas; and James Settelmeyer, R-Minden.
Lawmakers also have to pass the bills to fund the budget, including legislation extending the sunset on the 2009 tax increase for two years and another eliminating $23 million in tax deductions for the mining industry.
Under the bill on state employee pay, workers would take a 2.5 percent pay cut and six furlough days a year.
CORRECTION: This story was changed to accurately reflect the final vote count.