The committee studying how to spend Nevada’s pandemic relief money was told Tuesday the state’s governments and individual Nevadans have received a total of $38.2 billion in federal funding.
Of that, $26.5 billion went to the state and local governments.
Another $11.7 went to Nevadans directly in the form of stimulus checks, unemployment funding through several programs and paycheck protection.
Altogether, that comes to more than 17 percent of Nevada’s state budget.
Much of that money is designated for specific purposes. The committee headed by Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop, D-Las Vegas, is charged with figuring out how to spend the portion of the cash that they have some control over.
During a three-hour meeting Tuesday, staff from the legislative and executive branches of government went through an exhaustive explanation of the numerous federal programs that have sent more than $5 trillion to U.S. states and territories since the pandemic hit 18 months ago
Committee members were told much of the money is earmarked for specific purposes such as the $1.2 billion to the Department of Education which is passing that cash through to Nevada’s 17 school districts and its charter schools.
In addition, some money is designated for local recovery.
Some $292 million of local recovery cash goes to Nevada’s metropolitan centers: Carson City, Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Reno and Sparks. Those entities receive their share directly.
Another 13 smaller communities are listed as non-entitlement units and receive their share through the state of Nevada — a total of some $150 million.
There are also pots of money listed as quasi-discretionary aid, meaning the state has limited control over how that money is spent. The list includes things like rental assistance where the state can decide of the money goes to the renter or directly to the landlord.
For discretionary funding, they were told the Legislature and governor have control.
As part of their charge, the panel will be inviting different interest groups, advocates and the public to weigh in on how to spend the discretionary funding. But the purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was to lay out what’s available and the rules for spending it.
Counsel Brian Fernley advised members that much of the money can be approved for spending by the Interim Finance Committee and doesn’t have to go through the whole Legislature.