LAS VEGAS -- Some of the state's brightest minds on the economy have made their prediction about Nevada's fiscal future.
When the Great Recession hit, the private sector suffered and so did state government.The Economic Forum met Wednesday. It's job is to provide lawmakers with a forecast of the state's General Fund revenues, so lawmakers can determine a state budget. The number crunching has been done, and the experts are weighing in.
Lawmakers were told they will be working with roughly $5.8 billion in tax revenue over the next biennium as the state makes its way toward economic recovery.
"The governor and the legislature, per the law, have to live by that forecast. It takes the politics out of everything," said John Restrepo, principal of RCG Economics.
As the former chairman of the forum, Restrepo said, all sorts of factors must be considered when making the financial prediction. He said the group looks at trends in gaming, the high unemployment rate, and even whether Obamacare could affect the flow of money into state coffers.
"They have to live by those control totals and then they have to start doing prioritization of how they are going to spend the money, how it's going to be allocated, whether they need to raise taxes or not, or whether they need to extend taxes," Restrepo said.
State leaders are welcoming any sign of growth.
"We've seen non-stop positive job growth every month since the beginning of 2011," said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
It is predicted there will be 86,000 new jobs created between now and 2015, but that rate of growth is only half of what Nevada saw before the Great Recession.
Governor Brian Sandoval has proposed a $6.5 billion general fund budget, and now it's up to lawmakers to whittle that to the $5.8 billion dollar range.
The legislative session ends in early June.