LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada lawmakers are in Carson City to start a special session that will tackle closing a billion dollar budget shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Lawmakers are challenged with trying to fix the state’s $1.2 billion dollar budget shortfall which is a result of the closure of gaming properties and other non-essential businesses for nearly three months due to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The state has no choice but to make severe cuts to services and programs, in order to balance the budget. Health and human services, K-12 education and higher education are all likely to be impacted.
Governor Steve Sisolak recently released a list of his budget proposals.
One idea is for each state agency to slash their budgets by 14% which would make up about half of the budget deficit.
“Understanding that everyone is going to have some of this pain and shared responsibility is I think the realistic approach and then setting the priorities from there, over which programs need to be most protected, which populations are most vulnerable,” said Republican Senator Ben Kieckhefer who represents District 16 in Carson City County.
“We have to look at and see what can we trim back in order to have the programs continue, service the individuals and then as Nevada recovers, that we can turn around those programs,” said Democrat Senator Joyce Woodhouse who chairs the Senate Finance Committee.
Plexiglass has been installed in the Nevada Assembly and Senate chambers. Also, the public, while still able to chime in, will not be allowed inside the building.
Once the budget shortfall is tackled, Sisolak plans to put out another proclamation to address other issues which could include police reform.
8 News Now reporter Orko Manna is in Carson City and will be providing updates and coverage during the special session. You can view his tweets at https://twitter.com/orko_manna and https://twitter.com/8newsnow as well as https://www.facebook.com/8NewsNOW/.