Nevada Senate Republicans accuse Democrats of misusing recovery funds

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada’s Democratic lawmakers are disregarding the economic crisis faced by everyone else in the state by putting government first in line to receive funding from the American Rescue Plan, Republicans charged on Thursday.

And they are allocating funds for Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s priorities before he has even asked, according to Nevada Senate Republicans.

“When so many Nevadans need help, the first thing they do with new funds is direct money back into government rather than their struggling constituents,” Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, said.

“During budget hearings throughout the session, we’ve seen a need for additional resources and personnel in some agencies,” said Senate Minority Co-Whip Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas. “However, making state government the top priority of federal funds that we haven’t even received yet doesn’t bode well for how the legislature will allocate these dollars in the future.”

In a special joint meeting of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees on Thursday, Democrats authorized Nevada’s first dollars from the American Rescue Plan to restore vacant state positions in Governor Sisolak’s budget.

Republicans point out that the funds have not even been received yet, and federal agencies have yet to establish conditions on how the funds may be spent.

According to Nevada Senate Republicans, the decision comes on the heels of Sisolak’s emergency regulation last week directing money out of school classrooms to fund unemployment benefits for seasonal employees whose contracts expire over the summer.

Senate Republicans urge the legislature to strategically allocate American Rescue Plan funds to support economic recovery, infrastructure, and the state’s long-term financial stability without driving up ongoing operating costs of state government.

“Unfortunately, Nevada Democrats will follow the same “government first” pay-to-play scheme they used during the 2020 Special Sessions when they chose to cut money for schools and healthcare for the poor rather than instituting furlough days for state employees,” a Senate Republicans news release says.

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