(Katelynn Richardson) – Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo shared highlights from his proposed $11 billion two-year executive budget in his first State of the State address Monday night.
The state, Lombardo said, must both save for and guard against “the next unexpected event that shakes our economy and rattles our livelihoods.” He emphasized expanding education funding and choice, tax cuts, and responsible budgeting.
For every new dollar allocated to the general fund, more than $1 will be saved, according to the governor.
“Overall, my budget sets aside more than $2 billion dollars in total savings to safeguard against cuts to education and critical programs in the years to come,” Lombardo said.
The savings include $630 million for a rainy day fund and $315 million for a new Nevada Way Fund, which will be put towards economic development projects in “emerging markets.”
Lombardo also announced tax cuts, such as the 12-month gas tax suspension, which he says will save consumers and businesses $250 million. Other cuts include reducing the business tax rate by 15% and raising the Commerce Tax exemption from $4 million to $6 million.
For education, Lombardo announced $2 billion in new funding for students, equating to more than $2,000 additional dollars per student next year. Additionally, he shared plans to submit legislation that would create an Office of School Choice inside the Department of Education.
Parents rights group Power2Parent expressed excitement about the Office of School Choice in a statement, but said the additional $2 billion “won’t amount to anything without accountability.”
“Governor Lombardo has pledged to be the ‘education governor’ and the people who elected him will be watching to see how he will expand school choice and implement accountability measures in our public schools,” the group wrote.
In higher education, Lombardo’s proposed spending includes $5 million for a study of Nevada’s higher education funding formula, an additional $20 million in graduate student stipends, an additional $9 million for UNLV’s Medical School faculty, $6 million for continued Promise Scholarships, $75 million in the Millennium scholarship program, and $65 million in aging building maintenance.
Lombardo also announced plans to introduce public safety legislation, end universal mail ballots in elections, raise state worker pay by 8%, and repeal COVID legislation.
In a statement, the Nevada Republican Party voiced its support for Lombardo’s proposals to expand school choice, offer a gas tax holiday, and institute election reforms.
“It is a new day in Nevada – we have been side-by-side with Governor Lombardo since Day 1, and we look forward to assisting in passing these key priorities while being the watchdogs to ensure our bloated government bureaucracy in Nevada is cut to appropriate levels,” the party said.
Katelynn Richardson | The Center Square