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March 26, 2019

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Damon Political Report

Brian Sandoval proposes budget fix; Democrats continue to hammer spending plan

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Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas

Seeking to remove one of the key weapons in the arsenal Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, has been using against the proposed budget, Gov. Brian Sandoval today submitted a plan for closing an estimated $123 million hole that had opened up in his spending plan.

Earlier this month, Sandoval’s budget director Andrew Clinger acknowledged they could no longer rely on more than $425 million from the school districts’ debt reserves, reducing that figure down to $302 million.

But Sandoval refused to provide a fix for that hole in the education budget, drawing angry replies from Horsford, who accused the governor of neglecting his constitutional duty to propose a balanced budget.

Just before Horsford convened a meeting this morning to review Sandoval’s budget, the governor reversed course and submitted his list of fixes. The fix relies heavily on more Medicaid money coming from the federal government, as well as $44 million in mining tax revenue that hadn’t been included in the original budget.

The move failed to neutralize Horsford, however, who conducted a lengthy budget hearing detailing how Sandoval’s budget would hand the 2013 Legislature a $1.1 billion shortfall.

“We do need to look at things more in multiple year fashion,” he said. “That’s what has gotten us to where we are: we don’t think about long term consequences of the decisions we make.”

Senate Republicans repeatedly asked Horsford to allow Clinger to testify on the fix to the current budget. Horsford refused, saying he hasn’t had time to analyze the proposal.

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