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Legislature

Breaking down the budget

Health care and education programs make up a lion’s share of Nevada’s spending, but Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to boost some smaller programs in the next two years. Here are some other programs:

  • DROUGHT: The budget allocates $3.9 million to address suggestions and concerns brought by the state’s Drought Forum, including:
    • Nearly $1 million to the state Department of Agriculture to monitor and collect data related to drought and other water resources
    • $2.1 million to the Division of Water Resources to purchase equipment, hire staff and establish a drought planning program.
    • $778,000 to the state Division of Forestry for aircraft and fire crews and support.
  • CYBER DEFENSE: Sandoval’s staff said the state is constantly a target of cyberattacks. That’s why the governor wants to allocated $3.5 million to create Nevada’s first-ever Office of Cyber Defense. The office would include four staff and the money would buy software and hardware to prevent computer breaches, such as a recent one that exposed the personal information of medical marijuana industry workers.
  • STATE PARKS: One of Sandoval’s major priorities this session is focusing on restoring and creating new state parks. He has included $15 million in his budget in new funding to create the Walker River Recreation Area and to further develop the 315 acre Tule Springs Park. Other funds will go toward improving existing state parks, upgrading campground facilities, and creating a new Land Agent position to manage the parks.
  • CORRECTIONS/BODY CAMS: Sandoval’s budget calls for $1.8 million to purchase 71 body cameras for the state Department of Corrections, as well as a annual video subscription service and 312 stationary cameras and recording devices.
  • NORTHERN NEVADA VETS HOMES: Nevada is planning a nursing home for veterans but hasn’t yet received the funding from the federal government. The
  • UNR ENGINEERING BUILDING: One major construction project proposed in Sandoval’s budget is a new Engineering Building at the University of Nevada, Reno that will be jointly paid for by the school and the state. The building, which is estimated to cost $83 million, will cost the state and the university $41.5 million each. Sandoval’s staff says the project will be paid through a lease-purchase agreement, with the first payment scheduled for fiscal year 2019.
  • COLA/STATE WORKER STUFF: After several budgets that called for cuts and furloughs for state workers, Sandoval’s budget calls for a two percent cost of living increase to salaries for each year of the biennial budget. The COLA is funded by more than $100.2 million in general funds. Corrections Officers and IT professionals employed by the state will also see five percent salary bumps under the governor’s proposed budget.
  • UNLV MEDICAL SCHOOL: Sandoval’s proposed budget also calls for $13 million in new funding for the UNLV Medical School, which was officially granted preliminary accreditation in October 2016 and will begin classes later in 2017. If approved, total funding for the medical school would reach $53 million over the two-year budget period. It will be the first accredited four-year allopathic medical school capable of granting MD degrees in Southern Nevada.
  • YOUTH MENTAL HOSPITAL CLOSURE: The budget isn’t all new spending — the budget also calls for the closure of the Desert Willow Treatment Center in Las Vegas, a youth mental health facility. Sandoval’s staff said closing the facility will save the state $3.2 million and eliminate 53 full time employees. It’ll be replaced by a separate treatment wing operated within Rawson-Neal Hospital.
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