State Economists Paint Picture of More Cuts and Tax Increases - 8 News NOW

State Economists Paint Picture of More Cuts and Tax Increases

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LAS VEGAS -- Several community leaders and economists met Thursday to discuss solutions for the sluggish economy.

The event called Las Vegas at the Crossroads featured economists who say Nevadans are probably headed for one of the biggest budget cuts in services and possible tax or fee increases. 

Besides diversifying the economy, some believe part of the answer is in raising taxes.

"This is the biggest pound for pound deficit I'm aware of any state in the country so there is not a simple solution. It's no surprise to many, our state and local economies are struggling," said Guy Hobbs, financial expert.

"Everybody knows the outlook is currently pretty bad. We are the worst state in the country in terms of the unemployment number and foreclosures rates," said Stephen Miller, UNLV economics dept.

Community leaders and economists are trying to brainstorm ideas to get out of this recession. 

"I think the gaming industry has taking us far as they can at least for the time being and we need to get serious about economic diversification for out community," said Glenn Christenson, Nevada Development Authority.

With low consumer confidence and a state deficit close to $3 billion, experts believe one avenue is to look at diversifying in different markets. "Alternative energy, manufacturing, financial services. We have a great story to tell here. We just need to get out there and tell people what that story is," said Christenson.

Others also believe a dent in the deficit can be made by way of taxes.

"That's the last thing people want to hear especially during an economic downturn but, being realistic about it, that's probably going to end up being part of the equation," said Hobbs.

According to a 8 News NOW/Review Journal poll, taxes are third on the list of the single most important issues facing the state today. Still that doesn't mean they would welcome them.

"I don't think this is the time to raise taxes. I do believe we have to have fiscal responsibility for the state of Nevada," said Robert Wiley, resident.

Digging out of this slumping economy won't happen overnight.

"Diversification isn't an instant thing. This is a long-term plan that we need to start today to ultimately achieve," said Christenson.


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