CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — The COVID-19 pandemic devastated Nevada’s economy which relies so heavily on tourism. Gov. Steve Sisolak’s 2021-2023 proposal reveals the financial challenges the state continues to face. Medicaid and education numbers were of the most notable in his plan.
When the state legislature first approved budget cuts, it was for a devastating 12%. That will not be the case, however, due to higher December revenue projections than predicted.
“My Executive Budget for 2021-2023 recognizes the emergency we are
experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic while also setting forth a clear plan to revitalize, innovate, and grow Nevada’s economy,” Sisolak said in a news release. “I am committed to remaining flexible and working closely with the legislature in this unprecedented and evolving fiscal situation.”
Moving into Medicaid, the proposal preview shows that during the current biennium, 2019-2021, the number of enrollees increased by 18.7% more than projected. An additional increase of 2.2% is projected for 2021-2023. These numbers are due in part to job losses.
The budget predicts by the end of the upcoming biennium, one in four Nevadans will be enrolled in Medicaid.
Education is also highlighted, with $331 million in supplemental appropriations designated to K-12. In the current biennium, K-12 and Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) state expenditures total $7 billion. Federal aid is expected to be a large part of funding for education.
A state official also noted no school will receive less than they did coming into this budget, which includes revenue from marijuana excise taxes.
Another big item to note is that state employee furloughs that went into effect on January 1, 2021 will not continue in fiscal year 2022-23.
Sisolak says his priorities are still recovering from the ongoing crisis, creating jobs, educating children, promoting justice and equality and protecting citizens’ health.
The proposal lists general fund expenditures $8,688,624,000, a 2% reduction from 2019-2020.
“Ultimately, State revenues, while still severely impacted by the economic crisis, never dropped as low as our worst expectations and this budget reflects that inconsistent, if not positive, ending point,” the news release says.
Sisolak will discuss his proposal during the State of the State address, slated to air at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Channel 8 will carry coverage of the speech and it will also be livestreamed on 8NewNow.com as well as the governor’s Facebook page.