Las Vegas Sun

December 7, 2021

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Sisolak announces proposed budget cuts to fill $812M shortfall

Gov. Sisolak Covid-19 Presser

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Gov. Steve Sisolak gets emotional during a Phase 1 reopening update news conference, Friday, May 15, 2020.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced proposed cuts to address the state’s budget shortfall due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including a $25 million cut from funds approved for the construction of the UNLV School of Medicine’s building.

Nevada is expecting an $812 million shortfall for fiscal year ending June 30, including around $265 million for a projected shortfall in the distributive school account, which provides state financial aid to school districts and charter schools.

“While Nevada is on the road to recovery and gradually reopening our economy, we are working diligently with our state agencies to identify the reductions necessary for fiscal responsibility while prioritizing the resources necessary to protect the health and safety of Nevada’s residents,” Sisolak said in a statement. 

The cuts to state agencies include: around $3.05 million from the governor’s office, over $684,000 from the secretary of state’s office, $1.05 million from the Department of Taxation, $7.88 million from the Department of Education, $14.4 million from the Nevada System of Higher Education and $19.1 million from the Department of Health and Human Services.

On Monday, the National Bureau of Economic Research formally declared the United States was in its first recession since 2009. The casino closures alone cost the state an estimated $2.2 million a day. They were shuttered for about 80 days and are still gradually returning with some still closed and others operating at half capacity.

In early April, Sisolak told state agencies to prepare for both this 4% cut in fiscal year 2020 and a 6% to 14% budget cut in fiscal year 2021. In May, the Interim Finance Committee approved the movement of $401 million to the state’s general fund from its rainy day fund.

Sisolak could call a special session to address the virus’ impact to the budget, though the timing of any potential session is not clear. The Interim Finance Committee will discuss the governor’s plan at their meeting on Friday.