Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 | 3:36 p.m.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid visited Carson City on Wednesday and touted the recently passed federal stimulus plan and the “tens of thousands of jobs” he said it will bring to Nevada.
In his speech before a joint meeting of the Nevada Assembly and Senate, he acknowledged that the Legislature will still have to make tough choices. Nevada is expected to get about $450-$500 million from the federal economic stimulus to help plug a general fund budget deficit estimated at $2.36 billion, according to legislative staff.
In a question and answer session with reporters after the meeting, Reid noted there's also money states can use for health care and education funding. He also pointed to money that can be used for school rehabilitation and special education funding.
“This bill helps state budgets a lot,” he said.
Asked about the deficits, he said, “What would it be if we hadn’t done that?”
Reid said the stimulus had bi-partisan support from Republican governors, “from California to Florida and everywhere in between.” He did not mention Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, who was in the audience during his speech.
For Reid, the address was a return to Carson City where he served after as a member of the Assembly beginning in 1968. He noted that he had voted to create the Legislative Building where the Assembly and Senate meet.
Reid got his first of applause lines when he said of the stimulus: “This important plan has one meaning for Nevada and our country — jobs, jobs and more jobs.
“In recent years, Nevada's economic growth has been so dramatic that our state's future seemed to be rolling along on the wheels of destiny,” he added. “Today we are not so fortunate.”
He also said Nevada is poised to win its fight over the nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain, but urged the state to continue fighting.
“Now instead of fighting against the storm, Nevada has the wind at its back,” he said. “In partnership with the other delegation members and the state’s consititutional officer, we should finally see the Yucca project come to a close.”