- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Gov. Brian Sandoval is again calling for changes to Nevada’s tax system after receiving more bad news about the state budget.

Members of the Interim Finance Committee heard Monday that the state expects to be $162 million short of expectations by the end of the fiscal year in June. Gambling and mining tax revenues are lagging, and thousands more students are enrolled in public schools than projected.

“Our economy continues to show steady signs of solid improvement,” Sandoval said in a statement. “However, today’s numbers indicate that our revenue streams are not on pace with population growth and the mandatory resources needed to support that growth.”

The statement is similar to one he made last week, after the five-member Economic Forum panel projected Nevada would bring in only $6.3 billion in revenue in the two years starting in July. That’s less than the $6.7 billion budget state lawmakers approved for the current two-year period.

The state aims to end each fiscal year with 5 percent of its annual budget left over. But projections released Monday show the state would have only $8 million in its accounts by the end of June - far less than the $170 million to meet the 5 percent benchmark.

State budget officials recommended several measures to alleviate the shortfall, including giving higher education $6.6 million less for salaries, pulling $28 million from the state’s “rainy day” reserve account, and drawing money from other reserves.

Sandoval said he’ll ask state agencies to look for savings during the last months of the fiscal year but the state needs to rethink its tax structure.

“We must continue to look beyond our traditional revenue sources, which are not recovering at the same pace as the rest of our economy, toward funding mechanisms that compare and complement the growth of our changing economy,” he said.

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