Gov. Steve Sisolak and state leaders have given the go-ahead for Nevada to pull roughly $400 million out of its reserve “Rainy Day” account as the state grapples with a looming massive budget shortfall.
Sisolak and the other two members of the Board of Examiners (Attorney General Aaron Ford and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske) voted to approve the procedural move during a short meeting on Thursday, the latest step to address an estimated budget shortfall of $741 million to $911 million for the fiscal year ending on June 30. Many of Nevada’s primary tax bases, including the gaming and sales tax, have effectively dried up over the past two months because of COVID-19 related business shutdowns.
The governor and state budget officials did not detail where the transferred funds would go, or the status of up to $687 million in budget cuts that Sisolak asked state agencies to prepare for last month. The transfer of the reserve budget dollars will ensure that the state has an ending fund balance of at least $120 million, which is required under state law. Sisolak and state lawmakers declared a state “fiscal emergency” earlier this week, the first step required in state law to transfer dollars out of the “Rainy Day” budget account.
After Thursday’s vote, the next step will come during a scheduled meeting Monday of the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee, which has the power to assess, change and ultimately approve transferring the reserve dollars to the state’s main budget account.