(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval said today he will make it a priority as governor to encourage businesses to relocate to Nevada from neighboring states where taxes have been raised to deal with the economic slowdown.
In order to bring those businesses and jobs to Nevada, the state has to live within its means and maintain its minimal tax and regulatory environment, he said.
That means Sandoval, who takes office in January, will present a balanced budget to the 2011 Legislature that contains no tax or fee increases.
“Raising taxes and fees is the worst thing we can do when our economy is struggling,” he said.
Sandoval mentioned a recent report naming Nevada as the 5th best state in the country to do business, and he said preserving that ranking and capitalizing on it will be a priority of his administration. California ranked 50th in the same survey.
“I think we have a great opportunity to bring new businesses from the states of California and Oregon where they’ve chosen to raise taxes and where they over-regulate,” he said. “And so there are a lot of prospects out there. In fact I’m already beginning to make phone calls in terms of businesses that are looking at the state of Nevada to tell them that we have a very strong business environment. That this is a great place to live.”
Sandoval said Nevada has challenges with its education system, but that he will address that as well to ensure the state is attractive to new business.
“You know, it is no myth,” he said. “There are a lot of significant companies that are making serious consideration about relocating to the state of Nevada, and I’m going to be personally involved. And I’m going to make the phone calls, I’m going to make the visits, I’m going to sign the letters. I’m going to do whatever it takes because the bottom line is, is we need to bring more jobs to the state of Nevada and get people back to work.”
Sandoval met Tuesday with state Budget Director Andrew Clinger, getting his first review of the state revenue and spending picture. Today he also reappointed Clinger as budget director, and named former state Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert as chief of staff. He also named Dale Erquiaga, a former Clark County School District official, as senior adviser.
Clinger said prior to the Tuesday meeting he anticipates the state will receive about $5.3 billion in tax revenues in the coming two-year budget that will begin July 1, 2011. The precise number will be set by the Economic Forum on Dec. 1.
The current two-year budget will see about $6.4 billion in general fund spending, although this does not include about $1.1 billion in revenue being spent in the current budget that will go away in the new budget, including $600 million in federal stimulus funds.
State agencies and higher and lower education have submitted budgets totaling $8.3 billion.
Sandoval called the budget meeting productive but preliminary, saying he is a long way from making decisions on how to balance the budget with only about $5.3 billion in revenue.
“There are still a lot of hard choices that have to be made,” he said. “There are going to be some budget reductions which I take very, very seriously.”