State of the State: Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget pushes education advancements

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The 2016-2017 biennium budget being proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval this evening at the Assembly Chambers totals $7.3 billion.

That is more than $750 million more than the General Fund projected by Economic Forum in December.

A majority of the budget will be spent it two area: Education and Health and Human Services. His budget proposes spending 53 percent or $3.48 billion to education funding. Another $2 billion goes to Human Services.

“I am therefore proposing a broad-based solution that asks Nevada business to invest in our education system,” Sandoval said in his speech to lawmakers.

New revenues that Gov. Sandoval proposes permanently extending sunsets, except for the Net Proceeds of Mines prepayment, that totals $579 million for the biennium.

“It’s time we are honest with ourselves — these revenues are now part of our comprehensive budget,” Sandoval said.

“I realize these decisions are difficult. I know I am asking a lot from the business community,” he said. “But I have explored every option and find this to be the broadest, least complicated and fairest solution.”

Nearly half of the additional revenue he’s proposing would be raised by extending a series of “sunset” taxes that otherwise are scheduled to expire in June 30 — roughly $580 million.

The biggest chunk of the new money, about $437 million, would be generated through higher business license fees on a sliding scale that would cost the smallest businesses about $400 a year and the biggest up to $4 million a year. Currently, all business licenses cost $200 annually, regardless of whether they are for a hot dog stand or hotel-casino.

Sandoval proposed using the $882 million “investment in eductation” to expand full-day kindergarten statewide and provide extra resources to schools with a high number of English Language Learners and children living in poverty.

He also will propose raising mining’s modified business tax to 2 percent generating $14.6 million.

The governor also proposes moving major slot route operators to the gaming tax for those with 500 plus machines or $10 million plus revenues per quarter, generating an estimated $39 million.

Smokers also will feel a hit as the governor proposes increasing the cigarette tax 50 percent to raise $78.3 million.

The legislature convenes on Feb. 2


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