Final pre-session budget hearings start this morning | NevadaAppeal.com

Final pre-session budget hearings start this morning

The final three days of the legislature’s pre-session budget overview is scheduled to begin today with a presentation by Director of Corrections Greg Cox.

The major change proposed on prison budgets is the addition of about 100 correctional officers to beef up the inmate to staff ratios within the different institutions.

Following that, Public Safety Director James Wright will outline changes in his department, including the addition of some officers to the Division of Parole and Probation.

Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon will follow Wright and the day will wrap up with a presentation by Business and Industry Director Bruce Breslow.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has proposed a sweeping reorganization of the 11 divisions within B&I, centralizing them to create a one-stop shop called the Nevada Business Center.

Wednesday’s presentations to the combined membership of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees will start with Claudia Vecchio’s review of tourism and Cultural Affairs.

Conservation and Natural Resources, Wildlife and Agriculture are also on the agenda followed by the Department of Taxation under newly-appointed Director Deonne Contine.

The previews wind up Thursday with presentations by the Public Employees Benefits Program, Office of the Military, Veterans Services, DMV and the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

The Military headed by Gen. Bill Burks is probably the easiest for lawmakers to review since its funding is nearly 99 percent from the federal government.

The only real state funded initiative on his list is about $200,000 for a small building in Reno.

The major budget accounts that spend more than 90 percent of the total $7.3 billion General Fund and $25.5 billion overall two-year budget were reviewed in the first week of hearings. The largest among those are K-12 and Higher Education and the Health and Human Services budgets.

K-12 is the largest General Fund expense at just under $3.5 billion. HHS is the largest when all revenue sources including federal are considered at just under $10 billion.

The previews are designed to give lawmakers an overview of major initiatives, changes and mandates in the governor’s recommended budget.

That lets the money committees who review, amend and otherwise process the budget hit the ground running when the 2015 Legislature opens Feb. 2.

They must complete that work by the end of the 120-calendar day session.