Four of the five finance bills now presented to the Legislative Assembly
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
The K-12 education funding bill was tabled on Tuesday. The bills introduced on Wednesday are the Permits Act, the Capital Improvement Projects Bill and the Compensation Bill which fixes the salaries of unclassified employees and cost of living adjustments for over 23,000 government employees.
The Senate Finance Committee introduced the big bill – the Authorizations Act which defines how all money other than the General Fund and the Road Fund is to be spent. This measure contains $ 28.11 billion, the majority of federal funding and the majority in the Medicaid budget.
It also includes estimated stimulus funding of $ 2.83 billion from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act.
There is part of the general fund in the bill – the $ 63.9 million that funds the operations of the Commission and the Gaming Control Commission and $ 908.6 million in cash from the road fund for the Ministry of transportation.
These two pots of money are authorized to give these agencies access to the Interim Financial Committee if necessary. If that money were earmarked, they wouldn’t have access to IFC.
The bill also includes tuition fees and fees collected from NSHE students. This represents about a quarter of NSHE’s $ 2 billion biennial budget.
In total, the law contains $ 15.6 billion in federal funding.
The Capital Improvements Bill contains $ 413.1 million in spending, mostly paid for by general bonds. A significant portion of that total is for maintenance projects across the state. The UNLV engineering school building is the new major project on the list. But the list also guarantees $ 12 million worth of work in the Tahoe Basin. The bill has been presented to the Assembly.
The pay bill was also processed by ways and means. There were discussions among some members who questioned the fairness of giving state workers represented by a union 3 percent increase, but those not in collective bargaining only 1 percent in fiscal year 2023. Lawmakers have been told that giving each worker the 3 percent would increase the cost of the measure from $ 17.1 million to about $ 32 million.
This leaves only the Appropriations Act to complete the budget package. This measure specifies how the general fund and the balance of the road fund are to be spent.