CARSON CITY — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak began warning state agencies in April to ready for massive budget cuts over the next two years to make up for the states losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The memo sent to state agency directors and administrators stated that due to an “expected decline in revenues,” the governor is considering a recommendation for departments to cut up to 4% of their budgets for fiscal year 2020, and between 6% and 14% for the fiscal year 2021 budgets. The memo recommended amounts, which have not been finalized and still can change, depending on how the COVID-19 disruption pans out. The proposed cuts could total $687 million or more over the coming two-year budget, based on a spreadsheet posted on the state website.

In a separate letter, Sisolak wrote that the “the unimaginable has happened, and the magnitude of the COVID-19 public health crisis could not have been anticipated” adding “I wish we weren’t facing the reality of this crisis, and I wish I didn’t have to write this letter. However, as all Nevadans, including family households, small businesses, and even our largest employers, are looking at their finances and budgets differently right now, so should the state of Nevada.

“All Nevadans will be making cuts to their budgets, and we need to as well.”

Sisolak stated that he and his staff will be “surgical and thoughtful in our approach to this problem.” He said that while they will be looking at percentage cuts across agency lines, there would be no standardized percentage for all, meaning amounts will vary among the different agencies. Sisolak added that one place the cuts will not affect will be the “necessary resources for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.

“We must prioritize our resources so that we can effectively address, mitigate, and resolve this crisis as soon as possible and return to social and economic normalcy.”

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