Nevada legislators face enormous task of balancing budget amid pandemic

John Sadler
Las Vegas Sun

July 5, 2020

Nevada lawmakers will face an unprecedented challenge this week of finding more than $1 billion, either in budget cuts or tax increases, to cover a deficit caused by the economic downturn from the pandemic.

Exactly how one-fifth of the state’s $5.2 billion budget will be trimmed or where the money to fully fund it will come from has not been publicly released. Neither Gov. Steve Sisolak, his fellow Democrats who lead the state Senate and Assembly, nor minority Republican leaders have revealed details of any plans heading into a special session of Legislature that begins Wednesday but is closed to the public out of coronavirus concerns.

Here’s what is known: Sisolak late last month indicated that $900 million of the expected $1.3 billion deficit for the fiscal year that began July 1 would come from the state’s general fund. The fund is the source of much of the operating revenue for multiple state departments, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education.

Assembly Minority Leader Robin Titus, R-Wellington, said the details haven’t been released because the numbers are constantly changing. Democratic legislative leaders also wouldn’t give specifics on the plan. All departments are discussing what cuts are possible and there are still “lots of questions” about what the state can “afford to do,” Titus said.

“I think it’s going to be universal cutbacks,” Titus said. “Everybody’s going to have to give a little. We have to maintain public safety, we have to maintain public health, and to what extent can we do that.”

Sisolak previously said he would use the time leading up to the special session to “evaluate the most up-to-date revenue forecasts with the hope of mitigating the most severe reductions in the fiscal year 2021 budget proposal.”




Quote of
the week



“We needed to look at all capital improvement projects that are planned, (and postpone them because) we don't have the money. That's what we should have done immediately.”

State Senator
James Settelmeyer 

Gov. Sisolak reacting too slowly to state's budget issues, leading GOP state senator says

Ray Hagar
Nevada Newsmakers

June 12, 2020

The leading Republican in the Nevada Legislature criticized Gov. Steve Sisolak this week for reacting too slowly to implement state budget cuts due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown.

"I think he is creating a problem that will be worse," Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer said of Sisolak's tardy planning during an interview on Nevada Newsmakers. "We could have got away with a lot less (trouble)."


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