Guinn Center analyzes possible state budget cuts totaling $687M

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With the state’s two biggest revenue sources, tourism and casinos, effectively shut down, the state is facing a major budget shortfall.

Governor Steve Sisolak sent a memo to state agencies on April 3 which read “All Nevadans will be making cuts to their budgets, and we need to as well.” State agencies could be facing a cut of $687 million over the next two years.

The Guinn Center, a non-partisan research group, has reviewed the 2020-2021 state budget and researched how possible cuts could impact various state agencies. The Guinn Center wrote it is using data to evaluate the budget reserves the implications for state funding over the next two years.

Budget cuts for each of the state departments could be up to 4% for fiscal year 2020 and between 6% to 14% for the 2021 fiscal year.

According to a spreadsheet in the Sisolak’s memo, the Department of Human Health and Services could experience a budget cut of 9% as could the Nevada System of Higher Education. Both of those departments have the state’s highest budget reserves.

Sisolak said the state “will not cut the budgets of any agency that provides necessary resources for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.”

“Dependence on sales/use and gaming taxes, which together, comprise nearly half (47.7%) of the state’s major operating fund, the general fund, has exposed vulnerabilities in our overall revenue structure.”

The governor wants the state departments to submit their recommended budget cuts by April 13.

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