Guinn says another $37 million must come out of budget next month

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Gov. Kenny Guinn said Thursday another $37 million must come out of the budget before the end of June because of Nevada's revenue shortfall.

The state's Board of Examiners also made it official that teachers won't get the 2 percent additional raises put into the budget on condition there would be enough money to pay for them. To trigger those raises, the ending fund balance would have to be at least $154 million.

The issue will be revisited in October but Budget Director Perry Comeaux has already said it will be nearly impossible for the state's economy to recover enough to make up that shortfall by then.

Guinn, however, has promised teachers he will put the raises in his recommended budget for next year.

Guinn and Comeaux said they have clamped down on one-shot funds throughout the state and that most of those monies will not be released.

"It's too late for those people to spend that money and spend it wisely anyway," said Guinn pointing out that the fiscal year ends in just over a month.

He made the comments after the Board of Examiners officially accepted its Technical Advisory Committee projection that the state's ending fund balance will be just $54.7 million on June 30. That is more than $36 million less than the $91 million budgeted.

Comeaux said after the state's economy was slammed by the recession and Sept. 11, "we essentially froze every one-shot appropriation that had not been already spent."

One-shot appropriations are budgeted items for everything from new equipment to office remodels, carpeting, painting and major maintenance as well as non-tangible programs such as major studies by a department.

Comeaux said altogether, the budget office has been holding more than $50 million that was to be spent by the state this year.

He said after the amount needed to balance the budget is removed, essential items such as roof repairs will be funded. He said a few items including some money for the university system's computing center and new Nevada Highway Patrol vehicles has been released.

"But a lot of equipment replacement, painting and new carpeting has been postponed," Comeaux said.

He said, for example, more than $1.5 million was cut from the project which will provide a new state accounting system to integrate budget, personnel, payroll, contract management and other financial management systems for the state.


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