Without fanfare, Gov. Steve Sisolak on Wednesday signed the remaining four bills that implement the state budget for the coming two years.
He had already signed AB555, the K-12 education budget bill that, under the Nevada Constitution’s Education First language, must be passed first. In addition, he signed several other bills needed to pay for K-12 education including the measure extending the higher rate for the Modified Business Tax another two years and the bill transferring the commerce tax to the Distributive School Account. Each of those is worth about $100 million over the biennium.
The four measures signed Wednesday are the measures that deal primarily with the operation of state government and the funding for the Nevada System of Higher Education. They’re the appropriations Act, the Authorizations Act, the Capital Improvement Projects budget and the “Pay Bill” that sets compensation for state workers.
Together, they total a bit more than $27 billion over the coming two fiscal years.
The Appropriations Act contains $5.7 billion in General Fund dollars plus $264 million in Highway Fund money.
The K-12 Education bill has all but a tiny piece of the rest of the $8.85 billion in General Fund money available. That tiny piece is the $64 million that will fund operation of the Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board that’s in the Authorizations Act.
The Authorizations Act is the largest of the bills, containing $18.7 billion in gifts, grants, interagency transfers and other non-General Fund revenues, but primarily the more than $11 billion in federal money the state spends. Over half that total is the $6.7 billion federal share of Medicaid. The remaining $1.8 billion to fund Medicaid is state money contained in the Appropriations Act.
The CIP budget bill includes more than $300 million worth of maintenance, planning and construction projects. It will require $60.8 million in General Fund money plus the issuance of $191 million in General Obligation Bonds.
Finally, the Pay Bill sets out maximum pay rates for all unclassified state employees — generally directors and administrators and their deputies along with special professionals such as doctors. Most importantly to the rank and file state workers, it includes the 3 percent cost of living adjustment for the state’s 26,000 plus employees. That piece will cost $62.9 million in General Fund and $13.5 million in highway fund money.
Had Sisolak not signed the bills before Friday, all four would have automatically taken effect without his signature. Unlike the federal government where a president’s failure to sign a bill vetoes it, unsigned legislation in Nevada is deemed approved after 10 days.