Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 | 9:32 a.m.
CARSON CITY -- Sen. Harry Reid told the Legislature Tuesday night that Gov. Kenny Guinn was "courageous" for proposing a $1 billion tax plan to reduce the state's deficit.
"You as legislators have no greater responsibility than to provide the resources for each child in Nevada," Reid said.
Reid, D-Nev., also urged the Legislature to amend the state Constitution to get rid of term limits for state lawmakers and urged support for Secretary of State Dean Heller's voting reform proposals.
The Senate's assistant minority leader said Nevada and the nation need to focus on "hometown security."
The first Democrat to support former President George Bush's war against Saddam Hussein, Reid said he also supports getting rid of "the evil Saddam Hussein" now.
"Let's all pray for no war, and if war, speedy resolution of these hostilities," Reid said.
Reid also called for an "immediate middle class tax cut" and warned of unfunded federal mandates like the No Child Left Behind Act.
Reid's address to a joint session of the Legislature was attended by the state's constitutional officers and many local government officials.
Reid introduced the parents of space shuttle Columbia astronaut Willie McCool, Audrey and Barry McCool of Las Vegas, with high praise for their son's courage. He asked the state's leaders to show the same type of spirit in their work this session.
At a news conference after his speech, Reid said that while he supported a war against Iraq, he did not think it was "inevitable."
But he also warned that the United States' bigger challenge would be setting up a democratic society in a post-Saddam Iraq.
"The United States has no trouble winning the war, it has trouble winning the peace," Reid said.
Reid declined to elaborate on Nevada's budget deficit, saying only that he likes Guinn "even though he's a Republican" but was leaving solutions to the budget deficit up to state leaders.
Reid did talk politics, decrying President Bush's call for a $250,000 cap on jury awards in medical malpractice cases. He also condemned the insurance industry for "conspiring to fix rates," and noted that the insurance industry would certainly support whomever runs against him next year.