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Politics:

Brian Sandoval, Rory Reid spar over budget solutions

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010 | 2:27 p.m.

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Rory Reid

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Brian Sandoval

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In the first direct salvo between the two respective frontrunners for governor, Republican Brian Sandoval attacked Democrat Rory Reid today for refusing to offer solutions to the state’s immediate budget crisis.

Sandoval said Reid “either doesn't have the courage to make tough decisions, doesn't want to admit his real plan is to raise taxes -- or both."

In a press release, Sandoval said, "At a time when Nevada needs a leader most, Rory Reid has abandoned the citizens of this state.” He called Reid’s actions “disturbing.”

Reid, in an editorial board meeting with the Reno Gazette-Journal, said he wanted to focus on a vision for the future: “I want to focus on that, rather than guess at ways to solve the budget shortfall as my opponents have done."

Reid has released two plans during the campaign, one on economic development and another on ethics and accountability in government.

Reid pushed back against Sandoval today, saying he would eventually weigh in on the state's immediate budget shortfall.

"I think it's unfortunate that Brian Sandoval is injecting politics into a serious fiscal crisis," Reid said in an interview.

Reid said he is following a deliberative approach, where he waits for the facts to come in and consults with legislative leaders before coming to a conclusion.

"I will have something to say once the process is complete," Reid said. "I'm not going to say something that's not based on a full consideration of facts. Will it be today, tomorrow, or in three weeks? I don't know. But it will be soon, soon enough."

He attempted to compare Sandoval with Gibbons. "They have apparently gone to the same school of budget management," he said. "They shoot from hip, fail to consult anyone and do not provide the public an opportunity to be heard."

He also said Sandoval's implication that Reid might support raising taxes was a sign of how he was playing politics.

"I've said dozens of times, I will not support tax increases," Reid said. "He knows it, you know it."

Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons said Tuesday he was likely to present a plan sometime before a Feb. 8 State of the State speech he plans to give. He also promised to work with legislators.

Sandoval this month issued a plan to cut more than $500 million from the state’s budget, which includes a 4 percent salary reduction to state workers and teachers and taking $100 million from a Clark County School District fund for school construction.

Sandoval's plan says that additional shortfalls beyond $500 million would mean pay cuts above the 4 percent. Using Sandoval’s expected savings, that would equal an additional 7.5 percent budget cut.

In today's press release, he said he would meet with economic advisors next week to come up with additional cuts.

This week, Gibbons said the shortfall for the current cycle will be about $900 million, a figure that officials expect to lead to deep cuts in state services, employee salaries and other areas.

Gibbons staff has criticized Sandoval’s plan, saying the ideas have already been considered and much of Sandoval’s math doesn’t pencil out. Reid also criticized Sandoval’s plan to the Reno Gazette-Journal, saying that the plan doesn’t pencil out.

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