CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — Nevada Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo, just three weeks on the job, addressed a joint session of the Nevada Legislature in his first State of the State address on Monday, laying out his legislative and budgetary priorities for the next two years.
While leaving, Lombardo told 8 News Now Investigator David Charns he was looking forward to “getting [expletive] done.”
“Honestly,” Lombardo said. “One thing I pride myself in my history is getting stuff done and not just talk about it.”
Lombardo, 60, won the gubernatorial election in November and served as the head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for eight years.
“I am here to say to you tonight, our state of the state is growing stronger every day,” Lombardo told the crowded Assembly Chamber.
The hour-long speech focused on the economy, education and safety, while saving money for the next crisis. Through federal funding and other cuts, the COVID-19 pandemic left Lombardo a budget surplus, he said.
“We must remain dedicated to the twin propositions of saving for and guarding against the next unexpected event that shakes our economy and rattles our livelihoods,” Lombardo said.
Lombardo promised not to raise taxes on Nevadans, saying he was working to make Nevada more attractive to businesses, something his predecessor also worked toward.
“Whether it’s closing the lithium loop, unlocking innovation and investment in logistics, entertainment, science and technology, or embracing entrepreneurship, the message is, that Nevada is ready to partner,” Lombardo said.
The big topic of the night: education. Lombardo said he wanted to increase per-pupil student spending by $2,000. Nevada repeatedly ranks among the last states for student spending and among the last for education benchmarks.
Lombardo said he hoped to attract and keep teachers in the state by offering in-state scholarships if teachers promise to stay and work in Nevada classrooms for several years.
The governor also laid out a framework for giving parents non-public-school options.
“Let’s agree to set aside politics and turf guarding to deal with the stubborn facts regarding public education in Nevada,” Lombardo said. “For the first time, parents will have an advocate inside government promoting the expansion of school choice in Nevada. “
The governor said he would submit legislation to create an Office of School Choice “to ensure students and their parents have the information they need to evaluate every available option and that all education providers are held to similar standards.”
In addition to a proposal to pause the state gas tax for a year and give state employees immediate raises and bonuses, the governor, a retired sheriff, said he wanted to make it harder for career criminals to get just a reprimand.
“I will be introducing legislation that makes it harder, not easier, to commit a crime in the state of Nevada,” he said.
The governor’s budget proposal would create increase the cap on the Rainy Day fund, while also creating a new segment of money, the Nevada Way Fund, for large infrastructure and capital projects.
“Let’s plant the trees that some of us may never see,” he said.
Lombardo faces a Democratic-controlled Legislature with Democrats having a supermajority in the Assembly, meaning they do not need one Republican vote to pass a bill in the chamber. However, Lombardo would then have to sign off on that bill for anything to become law.