Lawmakers get delayed start on state budget hearings |

Lawmakers get delayed start on state budget hearings

by Geoff Dornan

Lawmakers began the process of reviewing the governor’s proposed budget on Tuesday, after the prospect of inclement weather prompted the cancellation of Monday’s meeting of the Legislative Commission’s Budget Subcommittee.

Items scheduled to be discussed on Monday were moved to Tuesday and Thursday.

They began with Finance Director Jim Wells’ overview of the budget and the capital improvement projects proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval for the coming two years before quickly getting into the meat of the budget as Superintendent of Education Steve Canavero walked them through the K-12 funding and the rest of the Education Department’s proposed programs.

The education budgets, which consume the largest single piece of $7.89 billion General Fund, were scheduled to take most of the day.

The subcommittee review is also the first chance for lawmakers to ask questions about details of the proposed budget.

On Tuesday, the subcommittee also took up the budget of the Department of Health and Human Services which, when federal and other money is added to the General Fund portion of revenue, making up nearly half of the more than $24 billion total state budget.

Today’s agenda will focus on the university system as well as the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation and DMV. Veterans Services, the Office of the Military and the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange are up for review on Thursday.

Lawmakers will take both Friday and the following Monday off, returning Jan. 31 to review public safety, the Department of Corrections, Transportation and Business and Industry agencies.

On Feb. 1, heads of Conservation and Natural Resources, Wildlife and Agriculture will present their budgetary plans.

The final agency on the list, Taxation, is expected to draw considerable interest from lawmakers as the agency works to deal with issues surrounding the controversial commerce tax and the regulation of recreational marijuana.

Members of the Assembly Ways and Means and the Senate Finance committees will begin their detailed examination of those budgets when the 2017 Legislature begins Feb. 6.