Sandoval’s budget: No cuts for state workers |

Sandoval’s budget: No cuts for state workers

Gov. Brian Sandoval said on Tuesday his proposed two-year state budget doesn’t contain reductions that will hit state workers.

A week away from rolling out his proposed 2018-2019 fiscal budget, Sandoval declined to give details on a variety of budgetary issues.

But when asked about potential reductions many state employees have feared would return, he said simply, “no.”

State workers were concerned last year when Sandoval asked executive branch agencies to develop potential budget cuts of up to 5 percent. A huge percentage of the state budget goes to salaries for the employees who provide government services to the public, business and other interests and large budget cuts invariably mean reductions similar to some of those imposed on employees — including unpaid furlough days and cancelation of step increases — when the recession hit in late 2007.

He also said he isn’t considering a temporary increase in the statewide room tax to bolster the available revenues but said details on those and other issues would have to wait until his State of the State speech January 17 — next Tuesday.

The three-volume budget was supposed to be in final form and go to the printers Tuesday of this week.

Sandoval, now entering his sixth year in office, said this budget plan is “the most dialed in” of any he has proposed as governor. He said there’s enough revenue available to do the things he wants to do.

In part, that’s because the Economic Forum, which projects the available General Fund revenue, gave the governor and lawmakers $541 million more than the projections used to build the current state budget. By law, those projections must be used by the governor and lawmakers. If they want to go beyond that total — $7.89 billion over the coming biennium — they have to propose and approve a tax to pay for it.

But the state also got a break when the percentage of Medicaid paid by the federal government held steady instead of dropping this coming year. At $6.4 billion over the biennium, more than $1.1 billion of it state funds, Medicaid is the largest budget in state government and even a tiny change in the federal matching percentage means big money.