Sandoval calls for more education, human services funding

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Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday released his budget recommendations for Gov.-elect Steve Sisolak to consider.

The list includes major increases in some areas, especially in Health and Human Services, that are outside of state control.

But it also recommends raises for state and university employees — either 2 percent a year or a one-time 3 percent increase. That would primarily offset the increase in the employee share of the Public Employees Retirement System premiums. The state and employees will each be on the hook for about $36.8 million to pay higher premiums.

Significant increases are proposed in the K-12 education budgets — a total of $784.8 million over the biennium. The biggest parts of that total are because of the projected increase in public school enrollments — $127 million over the biennium — and the statutory 2 percent salary increase for school employees that will cost $168.3 million over the biennium.

It will cost nearly $70 million more over the biennium to pay the weighted funding model where students in need of additional support get added funding form the state. That, he said, will pay for support of up to $1,200 per student for low performing students.

Rising health insurance costs will add another $33 million to the K-12 budgets.

Sandoval proposes shifting $76 million in marijuana tax revenue from the Rainy Day Fund to the newly created School Safety Task Force.

Rising costs in the Health and Human Services programs — primarily Medicaid — will cost an additional $316.9 million over the biennium. The decreasing federal match for Medicaid because of Nevada’s booming economy will add $110.4 million to costs in the Medicaid and the Nevada Check Up program for children.

Add to that, another $110.4 million to pay for the state share of the increasing Medicaid and Nevada Check Up caseloads. There are already nearly 660,000 Nevadans on Medicaid.

Sandoval’s list also includes some $66.5 million in supplemental appropriations that essentially cover cost overages from the current budget cycle. More than half of that, $36.5 million, is to cover the additional K-12 student population in the current budget.


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