Nevada state budget

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 14:53, 24 February 2014 by Colin O'Keefe (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Nevada state budget

Flag of Nevada.png
Budget calendar:  Biennial
Fiscal year:  2014-2015
Financial figures
GF expenses:  $6.6 billion[1]
Other state budgets
AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Nevada operates on a biennial budget cycle, with each fiscal year beginning on July 1.[2]

The $17.9 billion budget state budget for FY2012-13 was comprised of five different bills. In the budget, $6.2 billion in funds come from state general tax dollars and federal funds.[3] The enacted budget can be found online.[4]

In FY 2012, Nevada had a total state debt of approximately $40,711,818,000 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and the FY2013 state budget gap.[5] The FY2013 state debt total was down from the FY2012 state debt total of $41,883,947,000.[6] Nevada's total state debt per capita was $14,949.32.[7]

Federal Aid to State Budget

The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government. The number was the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
Nevada 19.69% (#49) 26.61% (#44) 29.35% (#45) 27.07% (#46)
  • Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[8][9]

FY2012-13 State Budget

See also: Archived Nevada state budgets

The Legislature passed five budget bills that fund state government and education for FY2012-13 on June 5, 2011, the next to the last day of the regular session.[10] Governor Brian Sandoval signed the budget on June 14, 2011.[3] A summary of the budget as prepared by the state can be found online.[11] Assembly Bill 579 provides funding for schools; Assembly Bill 580 contains appropriations for the general fund; Assembly Bill 503 authorizes expenditures; Assembly Bill 504 funds capital improvements; and Senate Bill 505 provides state funds to pay bills.[12][13][14][15][16]

Unemployment Insurance

In 2011, Nevada borrowed about $773 million from the federal government to pay jobless benefits. The interest payments on the loans would come from the state's general fund.[17]

Interim Funding

At the end of August 2011, the Interim Finance Committee, which functions within the Legislative Counsel Bureau between sessions and administers a contingency fund, met and approved more than 100 requests for funds from nearly every state agency. Interim Finance Committee members expressed concern that issues before the committee in August should had been previously resolved during the budgeting process.[18]


In FY2012, the state transferred $97.4 million from the Unclaimed Property Division to the general fund, the largest such transfer from the Unclaimed Property Division in state history. Property that was unclaimed for three years was transferred to the general fund.[19]

The state faces loss of revenue for a myriad of reasons, including:[20]

  • Tax revenues coming in far below the levels seen in prior boom years;
  • loss of one-time federal stimulus funds;
  • The expiration on June 30, 2011, of approximately $1 billion in temporary tax increases approved by the 2009 Legislature;
  • End of employee furloughs and restoration of employee benefits that were cut in 2009 to balance the current budget, which together would cost about $500 million

State Budget Director Andrew Clinger said that the state would be $1 billion short, but that figure did not include the $1.1 billion in lost stimulus funds or $200 million in additional Medicaid costs. The total requests from agencies — yes, they can be pared — put the shortfall before any cuts or furloughs at $3 billion.[21]

Gov. Sandoval said that his fiscal priorities were human services and education.[22] He said he would take a salary cut as part of the "shared sacrifice" necessitated by the state's fiscal condition.[22] In addition to cutting his own pay, he said that he wants state workers to give up 5% of their pay.[23] The governor suffered a blow when a Nevada State Supreme Court ruling raised legal issues on some funding tactics totaling about $656 million, which threw the budget process into chaos. The ruling opposed lifting the sunsets on the taxes, which the governor had relied on to avoid new taxes. The court found that it was unconstitutional for the state to sweep $62 million from a southern Nevada clean water fund in 2010 to help pad revenues and close an $805 million deficit. While the decision focused on that money grab, it called into question Sandoval's plan to take school bond reserve accounts and some property taxes from Clark and Washoe counties to help balance his budget.[24]


The governor proposes cutting education spending by $200 million, approximately 9%. All of the Assembly's Republicans backed the governor's proposed $2.2 billion public school spending plan, while all Democrats oppose the plan.[25]

On May 16, 2011, the governor vetoed Assembly Bill 568, the bill funding K-12 education for 2011-13, because of the funding Democrats added back into those budgets.[26] The funding added by Democrats increases state spending by nearly $660 million above the amount proposed in the Executive Budget and the governor said that the state would not had the funds to pay for the bill and all other government sevices if he had signed it. Democrats did not had the votes needed to override the governor's veto, sending the budget battle back to square one with three weeks left in the 2011 session that ends June 6.[27][28]

Agency budget requests

State agencies submitted their budget requests for the coming biennium in October 2010 and they totalled $8.3 billion, almost $2 billion more than the general fund budget approved by the 2009 Legislature.[29]

Public schools requested a 32% increase, upping their share of the total general fund from $2.5 billion this budget cycle to $3.3 billion, as the university system seeks a 25% increase from $954 million to $1.19 billion. Health and Human Services requested that their budget increase from $1.8 billion to $2.4 billion, an increase of 32.75%.[29]


Any tax increase or continuation would require a two-thirds vote in each house of the Legislature.[20]

General Fund revenue collections were $37.99 million ahead of the forecasts used to build the state budget, according to reports presented to the Economic Forum on Dec. 13, 2011.[30]

Board of Regents

The Nevada Board of Regents adopted its 2011-13 operating budget without the 10% budget cuts requested by the governor. The Board did, however, promise to make the necessary cuts once lawmakers determine set amount to be cut.[31]

Collective Bargaining

Gov. Sandoval said that he did not support a bill to eliminate collective bargaining in local government as proposed by his predecessor Gov. Jim Gibbons.[32]

Budget transparency

Nevada Open Government was the website which hosts the state's searchable online database of financial data. The site was created by Governor Jim Gibbons's executive order, and became functional on January 15th, 2009.

Government tools

Nevada Open Government was a Website where records of Nevada state spending were made available. The site provides line item expenditures navigable by fiscal year and agency. Budget documents were also available.

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending database:

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Searchability Grants Contracts Line Item Expenditures Dept/Agency Budgets Public Employee Salary
Nevada Open Government
600px-Red x.png
600px-Red x.png
600px-Yes check.png
600px-Yes check.png
600px-Red x.png
See also: Evaluation of Nevada state website

Limitations and Suggestions

The site lacks information on grants, contracts, and state employee salaries.

Independent transparency sites

The Nevada Policy Research Institute developed its own transparency website,[33] This site would focus primarily on local transparency, complementing the state's site, which focuses primarily on state spending transparency.

Public employee salary information

See also: Nebraska state government salary

Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois created a multi-measure transparency profile for Nevada, which measured state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations. These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.[34][35]

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.[36][37]

Budget background

Nevada’s Constitution requires that the state have a balanced budget and not deficit spend. Individual state agencies submit their budget requests along with past expenditures and revenue to the Governor who proceeds to issue a budget recommendation for the upcoming fiscal year to the Legislature. Both the State Assembly and the Senate were required to make any necessary changes or adjustments to the budget until the bill was passed in both houses.[38]

Regular sessions of the Legislature begin the first Monday in February of odd-numbered years. Nevada was one of only six states that had true biennial sessions. From 1961 through 1997, the length of legislative sessions in Nevada depended upon the time required to process proposed legislation, review the spending proposals of state agencies, and adopt a biennial state budget. Some sessions lasted as long as 169 days. At the 1998 General Election, Nevada voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting future regular biennial sessions to 120 days. The amendment also requires the governor to submit the executive budget to the Legislature two weeks before the start of session.[39] Bills that had a tax or fee increase require a 2/3 majority vote (14 in the Senate and 28 in Assembly) to pass.[40]

  • The General Fund was a significant source of revenue for the state, accounting for 37 percent of total projected revenue. Federal funds account for almost one quarter, 21 percent, of the state’s projected revenues. Other revenue encompasses a variety of items from private gifts and donations to various fees, assessments, and taxes.[38]

2009-11 Budget Expenditures

Statewide Revenue Summary by Funding Source 2009-11[41]

Funding Source Amount % of Total
General Fund $6,688,355,551 19.14%
Federal Fund $6,643,352,995 19.01%
Other Fund $10,157,969,106 29.07%
Inter-Agency Transfer $2,590,510,047 7.41%
Balance Forward $7,970,215,361 22.81%
Highway Fund $887,853,223 2.54%
Reversions $0 0.00%
Interim Finance $7,602,608 0.02%
Total $34,945,858,891 100.00%

Statewide Expenditure Summary by Function 2009-11[42]

Function Area Amount % of Total Budget
Human Services $6,414,342,878 18.36%
Education $5,952,617,984 17.02%
Infrastructure $3,551,938,371 10.16%
Special Purpose Agencies $1,478,944,640 4.23%
Public Safety $1,548,060,504 4.43%
Elected Officials $5,714,081,857 16.35%
Commerce & Industry $7,964,932,549 22.79%
Finance & Administration $1,959,555,963 5.61%
Judicial & Legislative $361,384,145 1.03%
Total 34,945,858,891, 100.00%

Accounting principles

See also:Nevada government accounting principles

The Nevada Legislative Auditor audits Nevada's state agencies and publishes audit reports online. Paul Townsend was Legislative Auditor. The Legislative Auditor was a statutory officer appointed by the Director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau with the approval of the Legislative Commission for an indefinite term whose qualifications and duties were defined by law. The Legislative Auditor serves as staff to the Nevada Legislature and its various committees, and was the chief of the Audit Division.[43] [44]

The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Nevada “Timely” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 22 states timely, 22 states tardy, and 6 states as worst. IFTA did not consider Nevada's CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis did not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care.[45] Nevada's CAFRs are prepared and published online by the Nevada Controller's Office.[46]

The Nevada State Controller is one of the six constitutional officers of the state and is elected to a term of four years. The Controller is the chief fiscal officer charged with administering the state accounting system and the state's debt collection program under the Nevada Constitution Article 5, Section 19.[47]

Credit Ratings

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Nevada[48] AA+ Aa2 AA[49]

Moody's downgraded the state from Aa1 to Aa2 in 2011, citing two-thirds supermajority required to raise taxes as a negative in Nevada.[50]


Nevada received $2.35 billion in federal stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act between February 2009 and June 2013.[51]

Public Employees

See also: Nevada public employee salaries and Nevada public pensions

According to 2011 Census data, the state of Nevada employed a total of 131,356 people.[52] Of those employees, 98,713 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $499.4 million per month and 32,643 were part-time employees paid $44.4 million per month.[52] More than 52% of those employees, or 71,451 employees, were in education or higher education.[52]

See also

External links

Additional reading


  1. Legislature Approives 6.6b Nevada Budget. Accessed September 27, 2013
  2. National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting" April 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Las Vegas Sun "Sandoval signs budget bills to fund state government" June 14, 2011
  4. FY2012-2013 Enacted Budget
  5. State Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  6. State Budget Solutions “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  7. State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  8. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  9. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  10. The Las Vegas Review-Journal "Legislature approves state funding bills, await Sandoval's signature" June 5, 2011
  11. FY2012-2013 Budget Summary
  12. Assembly Bill 579
  13. Assembly Bill 580
  14. Senate Bill 503
  15. Senate Bill 504
  16. Senate Bill 505
  17. The Nevada News Bureau Oct. 4, 2011
  18. Nevada News Bureau "Lawmakers, State Agencies Argue Over Budget Compliance" Aug. 31, 2011
  19. "State Treasurer Announces Record Year For Unclaimed Property Returns To Owners" Aug. 8, 2012
  20. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named grim
  21. The Las Vegas Sun "Numbers tell state budget’s back story" Nov. 17, 2010
  22. 22.0 22.1 Bloomberg "Nevada gov-elect: Agencies must share pain of cuts" Dec. 30, 2010
  23. "Governors put state jobs on the chopping block" Jan. 27, 2011
  24. Forbes "Governor, lawmakers huddling over Nevada budget" May 31, 2011
  25. The Las Vegas Review Journal "Parties deliberate proposed cuts to state's schools" April 19, 2011
  26. The Nevada Appeal "Sandoval vetoes bill adding money to K-12 education" May 17, 2011
  27. "Governor Sandoval Vetoes K-12 Funding Bill" May 16, 2011
  28. Assembly Bill 568
  29. 29.0 29.1 The Nevada Appeal "State agencies ask for $8.3B" Oct. 16, 2010
  30. Nevada Appeal "Nevada was $38M in black" Dec. 14, 2011
  31. The Reno Gazette Journal "Nevada regents adopt budget without governor's 10 percent cut request" Aug. 27, 2010
  32. The Las Vegas Sun "Sandoval won’t push bill to eliminate collective bargaining" Feb. 4, 2011
  33. New Transparency Website Launched, Nevada Policy Research Institute, September 8, 2008
  34. Institute of Government and Public Affairs
  35. University of Illinois Transparency Profile for Nevada
  36. [ University of Illinois 50 State Transparency Comparison
  37. University of Illinois State Transparency Profiles
  38. 38.0 38.1 State of Nevada,"Introduction to State Budgeting," October 2007
  39. Nevada State Legislature Web site, retrieved October 31, 2009
  40. Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau Research Division, "Nevada State 2009 Legislative Manual," February 13, 2009
  41. Revenue Summary
  42. Nevada Open Government Spending Summary
  43. Nevada Legislative Audit Division Web site, retrieved October 31, 2009
  44. audit reports
  45. Institute for Truth in Accounting, “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35
  46. CAFRs
  47. Nevada State Controller's Office Web site, retrieved October 31, 2009
  48. State of Indiana, “State Credit Ratings-as of June 24, 2009"
  49. Pew Stateline Infographic on State Credit Ratings. Accessed September 27, 2013
  50. Nevada News Bureau "Moody’s Downgrades Nevada’s Credit Rating" March 24, 2011
  51. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 2011 Nevada Public Employment U.S. Census Data