CARSON CITY, Nev. – Gov. Kenny Guinn announced Monday he would seek nearly $1 billion in new taxes in the biggest increase in Nevada's history.
The plan revealed in the Republican governor's State of the State address will likely face stiff opposition in the legislature, but Guinn said trying to block it would amount to "political cowardice."
"The legacy of once again running from our duty as leaders will produce a devastating effect on every single Nevadan," Guinn said.
The governor hopes new levies will help finance a record $4.89 billion budget planned for the next two fiscal years aimed at shoring up education, social services and other government programs.
Without new funds, seniors would lose nursing home care and affordable medicine, students from kindergarten to college would suffer, and children would lose health insurance, Guinn said.
"These are not threats, they are realities," Guinn said. "To me, this is not a choice worthy of our citizens. It is not a choice for leaders, but a choice of political cowardice."
The governor estimates that without new taxes the state faces a $700 million shortfall just for maintaining services at their current level.
Any tax hike requires a two-thirds majority. Republicans have a 13-8 edge in the state Senate and Democrats control the Assembly by a 23-19 margin.