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State workers to say bye-bye to furloughs in July 2014

Updated Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | 12:45 p.m.

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Brian Sandoval

State employees will no longer have to take unpaid furlough days, starting in July 2014, Gov. Brian Sandoval said.

The governor’s original budget provided for decreasing furlough days from six to three per year for the next two years.

Now, Sandoval’s $12 million plan calls for three furlough days between July 1 and June 30, 2014, and no furlough days between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015.

That means state employees will work and collect pay for nine more days than they worked under the current two-year state budget.

“You and your fellow state employees have continuously done more with less while serving our fellow citizens with dignity and respect,” Sandoval said in an email to state employees yesterday. “I am pleased that we are able to recognize your service and sacrifice by eliminating furloughs completely beginning in (fiscal year) FY15.”

In addition to the $12 million to end furloughs by July 2014, Sandoval also announced on Monday that he plans to add $25 million to early education over the next two years, with $10 million for full-day kindergarten programs and $15 million for English language learner programs.

That money comes from lower-than-projected employee medical costs in the Distributive School Account, lower-than-projected Medicaid caseloads and a higher-than-projected federal Medicaid match.

Although the state’s Medicaid program is set to expand under federal health care provisions, the federal government plans to pay for the first few years of that expansion.

The federal government also increases the amount of money it gives to states for Medicaid, the health program for the poor and disabled, when the average income drops in a state.

Sandoval explained in his letter to state employees that he was able to eliminate furlough days via “cost efficiencies and reduced costs in services” that include reduced Medicaid caseloads, a higher-than-projected Medicaid match and a reduction in medical costs for state employees.

Lesley Henrie, a spokeswoman from the state’s budget office, said Nevada was able to renegotiate Medicaid administrative costs to get the federal government to pay more.

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