Lawmakers to get stimulus outline
Legislative money committees will hear a presentation today on what the state may get from the federal stimulus package.
Most recent data from the National Council of State Legislatures shows Nevada in line for about $1.34 billion in stimulus money. But the state won’t be able to spend it wherever lawmakers and the governor want to. Most of the cash in the bill that passed the House of Representatives is dedicated to specific uses. And the Senate version now being developed is expected to contain similar restrictions.
The largest single chunk of Nevada’s total is $520.7 million earmarked for “fiscal stabilization.” The definition of that phrase is still being developed in Washington.
Next is the $217.77 million for highway construction. That money is available for “ready-to-go” projects. Nevada Department of Transportation Director Susan Martinovich told lawmakers last week her staff has more than $1 billion in projects ready to go.
Medicaid is on the list for $191.6 million. Medicaid money is the only category in the House bill that contains appropriations for the next two fiscal years instead of just one year.
Title 1 grants to schools with high poverty rates, special education and education technology are on the list for $158.9 million, with another $80.9 million marked for K-12 construction. Again, the construction money is for projects that are ready to be built.
There is also money in the plan to temporarily increase unemployment insurance benefits, tax relief for businesses and individuals and funding for construction of water infrastructure.
Altogether there are 20 funding categories and a total of $197.8 billion in the House bill. The Senate is still working on its version of the stimulus legislation.
The combined membership of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees will convene at 8 a.m. for a briefing from their fiscal staff and several Executive Branch department heads including Martinovich and Health and Human Services Director Mike Willden.
However, state fiscal experts as well as members of Nevada’s congressional delegation have warned that nothing in the proposed stimulus packages is set in stone at this point.
– Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.