Nevada lawmakers examine Sisolak’s budget cut proposals during Special Session

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — The COVID-19 pandemic has hd a major impact on Nevada’s budget. Now, a Special Session is underway to fix next year’s historic $1.2 billion budget shortfall.

Major cuts are on the table, so it’s very likely that every state agency and department will be impacted. Lawmakers are going over the numbers to figure out what exactly to do.

The Nevada Senate and Nevada Assembly officially kicked off Day One of the session today. They heard from the Governor’s Finance Office about the details of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s proposals to balance the budget.

Some ideas include slashing Medicaid funding by a couple hundred million dollars, holding around 700 state employee vacancies and having each state agency reduce their budget by up to 14%.

That last proposal would funnel back more than $500 million into the general fund.

Another possible course of action is to raise taxes.

This afternoon, 8 News Now’s Orko Manna asked Sisolak what that would look like, to which he replied:

“Taxes are a difficult situation because if you have a new tax and you try to implement something, you wouldn’t et the revenue in time. But before we can even discuss a new revenue stream, it’s clear that you need one Republican vote in the Senate, and I don’t know that that vote is in there. If it is there, and they present a revenue package to me, I’m happy to look at it.”

When it comes to budget cuts, Health and Human Services and K-12 education would likely be impacted the most.

Passionate pleas were made to keep classrooms funded, as members of several teacher’s unions protested outside the Nevada Legislature.

“It’s painful to look at any cut in education,” said Sisolak, “It’s been my priority.”

Still, he says because of the COVID-19 shutdown, the cuts are necessary. He’s hoping the federal government will be able to help, as well.

“This is not something that I take lightly or I’m happy about doing,” Sisolak lamented. “A lot of thought went into this, and hopefully, we’re going to come up with a solution that’s going to be the least painful and have the least impact.”

We’re expecting the budget talks to last a couple days.

“We’ll solve the budget,” said Assemblyman Tom Roberts of Clark County’s District 13. “Now, whether or not we all agree with the Governor’s decisions or not, that remains to be seen. There were a lot of pointed questions today, and so, we’ll see if we make some adjustments to it.”

Sisolak also indicated that there could be a second Special Session to address other issues, like criminal justice reform.

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