State of the State Day blog

I'll update this throughout the day with tidbits.


We are about 90 minutes away from the biennial media briefing, which is where the governor's staff lays out the budget plan, we ask obnoxious questions but can't write about it or put it on TV until the speech. It's always fun as we test the sense of humor of the chief of staff -- in this case, Mike Willden, who is a veteran of such media needling.

But we all abide by the embargo -- not sure anyone has ever broken it, although I am taking bribes right now. 

My favorite part is arguing with the staff just how much the tax increase is. That will be fun.

Finally, I must say the State of the State day is my favorite day of any two-year legislative cycle. I am, like the governors, full of hope and optimism for the future, believing something really productive can and will happen. I am in great spirits. I go to Adele's afterward in a buoyant mood.

Then the session starts.

12:45 PM UPDATE: 

In case you don't know, the Democrats will have a response after the State of the State. Nobody really cares about these responses, which are always taped before the speech and don't say much. But listen tonight for Assembly Minority Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick's taped rebuttal. And remember this name: The Luxury Discretionary Spending Tax. (Better than "fun tax," and it won't include movies, which are fun.)

It won't be in the governor's budget, but it will get rid of exemptions from the Live Entertianment Tax. And Kirkpatrick, I'm told, will sell the revenue as a way to have a sales tax holiday for kids (love that spin!) and reduce DMV fees (that will sell!).

It's also paid mostly by tourists, so the fight will be mostly for restoring exemptions. And I don't think that will be Aces with her.

Indeed, from what I can tell and from what I hear, the shock for Kirkpatrick of not being speaker in her final session has dissolved into excitement about working with the GOP leaders to pass tax reform.



11:15 AM UPDATE:

Chatted with GOP Sen. James Settelmeyer, who told me he thinks using the payroll tax (easier to calculate, he claimed) is better than the governor's plan to use the business license fee for his tax plan. "I'm worried it creates more bureaucracy," the GOP senator said.

This is a harbinger of the battle to come, with conservatives willing to vote for more funding willing to use the Modified Business Tax as a mechanism. Here's why: That is much more of a burden on gaming than any other industry -- most employees -- and won't hurt many businesses as much as using their gross receipts. (The Monte Miller Plan?)

Remember where you read that first.


The governor is rehearsing the State of the State as I pen this. I saw aides Michon Martin and Mari St. Martin, along with state Superintendent Dale Erquiaga go in to the Assembly chambers. I understand the speech could last as long as an hour -- they usually run about 45 minutes or so. 

Expect Erquiaga, who I was told wrote a good bit of the speech, to be the governor's main advocate in the Legislative Building for the education reforms and money, which will not just expand schools taragted with English Language Learner money (expanding the so-called Zoom School program) but will help categories of kids never helped before. Can't wait to see lawmakers try to move that money around.

Another administration lobbyist who will not be in the hallways but will surely be on the phone pushing the education agenda is Elaine Wynn, the state ed board boss who will be making her first appearance at a State of the State tonight. Wynn is passionate, charismatic and connected -- she could be a big help to Brian Sandoval in the education and gaming communities.

Just ran into the city of Las Vegas contingent, including Manager Betsy Fretwell. They are reportedly going to hold up "Save Our Stadium" signs during the speech.

Finally, in case you missed it, this may help.