Though Raggio backed Sandoval — the two are law partners in the same firm — Raggio's record is that of a moderate who has supported tax increases, along with budget cuts.
"There's only so much you can cut before you get to what I call essential services that need to be provided by the state," he said earlier.
Over the years Raggio has been increasingly critical of the anti-tax stance of the conservative wing, and this year removed himself from the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
"I think it's important, that way they will have a free hand to push their views on the budget," he said.
It remains to be seen whether he will wield behind-the-scenes influence over his fellow lawmakers and the governor during budget negotiations.
Sandoval has said he'll release his blueprint when he gives his State of the State address Jan. 24.
"In January we'll get to look at his budget plan. I expect to see some fairly radical cost shifting, reductions, thousands of layoffs, perhaps," Leslie said.
Minority leader Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, also expressed misgivings about the budget, though he said he's looking forward to working with the governor to find solutions.
"It is a very serious problem," McGinness said. "I hope the governor has a magic formula to make it work."
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