With the Assembly’s unanimous vote to approve the Authorizations Act, all five bills needed to enact the state budget for the coming biennium are now on their way to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s desk.
The Authorizations Act is the largest of the bills, containing some $18.7 billion. It consists primarily of permission to spend federal funds but it also includes gifts, grants and interagency transfers as well as other non-General Fund money.
The largest budget in the act, and largest budget in the state, is Medicaid. The federal share of Medicaid’s $8.5 billion budget is $6.7 billion. The rest, about $1.8 billion, is state money in the Appropriations Act.
The only General Fund money in Authorizations is the $64 million that funds operations of the Nevada Gaming Commission and Control Board.
The rest of the $8.85 billion General Fund money is contained in the Appropriations Act and the K-12 Education bill.
The K-12 Education Act, which under the constitution had to be approved first, contains a total of $8 billion. In addition to General Fund cash, the bill contains funding from sources including the marijuana tax, permanent school fund, Initiative Petition 1 room tax money and federal mineral lease money. It will support an average $6,218 basic per pupil support in 2020 and $6,288 in 2021.
When local revenues from the school support tax and property tax are added in, total average per pupil funding will be just more than $10,000 in each year. The Distributive School Account contains the money for basic support as well as class size reduction and special education funding totaling $6.7 billion.
Outside of the DSA are a number of programs including Jobs for America (JAG), Victory Schools, Zoom Schools, Career and Technical Education and funding for the New Nevada Education Plan.
The Appropriations spends the rest of the General Fund revenue — some $5.7 billion — and pays for the operation of the three branches of state government as well as the Nevada System of Higher Education. In addition, Appropriations contains $264 million in highway fund money primarily to support the DMV and Highway Patrol.
The other two bills that make up the budget are the Capital Improvement Projects bill and the Pay Bill that sets maximum salaries for the more than 26,000 state workers. The Pay Bill also includes the 3 percent cost of living raise to be awarded in the first fiscal year. It will cost the state $62.9 million in General Fund and $13.5 million in Highway Fund cash.
The CIP bill funds more than $300 million worth of maintenance, planning and construction projects and authorizes the issuance of $191 million in General Obligation Bonds. The biggest recipient is the Nevada System of Higher Education, in for a total of $153.6 million in projects over the coming two years.