As Nevada’s economy continues to reel from the pandemic, Gov. Steve Sisolak’s finance office is asking state agencies to propose 12 percent cuts in their budgets for each year of the 2021-2023 biennium.
Sisolak said Friday that the finance office had sent a memo to agencies in the executive branch asking for their ideas on reductions as he continues to work on the budget he’ll recommend to the Legislature next year. The state is also monitoring as the Economic Forum, a panel of economists, predicts how much tax revenue the state will have to work with in the biennium that begins in July 2021
“Like Nevada families, the State must budget with what we have in front of us in our current situation as we continue to monitor projections and updates,” Sisolak said in a statement. “As Governor, I will continue to work with our federal partners to strongly advocate for direct and flexible relief funding for State and local governments so we can continue the essential work to protect the health and safety of all Nevadans.”
The request comes after Nevada wiped out its rainy day reserve fund of more than $400 million, and after lawmakers convened over the summer to close a budget gap of more than $1 billion for the fiscal year.
Agencies are being asked to cut 12 percent from the levels the Legislature approved during the 2019 session for the 2021 fiscal year budget, according to the governor's office.
Government-mandated restrictions that continue to limit capacity at businesses and events, combined with consumer hesitation to travel during the pandemic, have pushed visitor volume in Las Vegas to about half what it was a year ago. Taxable sales — the biggest revenue driver for the state — were down 10 percent year-over-year in August, and gaming revenue was down 22 percent in September year-over-year.
“All states are continuing to face devastating impacts to their budgets as a result of the COVID-19 recession, and Nevada is no exception,” Sisolak’s office said in a statement. “That’s why Governor Sisolak joins his peers across the country in calling on Congress for a robust and multi-year funding recovery plan for states and territories.”