(Carson City, NV) – Members of the Senate Republican caucus today outlined their proposal for closing the state’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget gap by utilizing available revenue to minimize cuts to schools and vulnerable children and families.
“After spending more than a week reviewing the Governor’s proposal to cut services to some of Nevada’s neediest families, this proposal is an effort to minimize that damage and protect both education and our social safety net,” said Senate Republican Leader James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville.
The Senate Republican’s plan utilizes various existing revenue streams, enhanced federal funding from Medicaid, more substantial fund sweeps and other mechanisms to free up more than $160 million that can be used to offset cuts to education and health and human services.
“Since the beginning of the special session, we have worked together with our Democratic colleagues in the Senate to evaluate the Governor’s cut proposals and identify alternatives,” said Senator Heidi Seevers-Gansert, R-Reno. “This collaboration has resulted in the identified revenues outlined in our proposal. The list of add backs represents the Senate Republicans’ priorities for which programs should be restored to best protect Nevada’s children and families.”
Key components of the Senate Republicans’ proposal include the full restoration of optional Medicaid services, including dental, vision, and prosthetics. Additionally, the proposal restores all but 2 percent of the proposed rate cuts to Medicaid providers. Additional add backs include services for the developmentally disabled, mental health care, and child welfare, among others.
In the area of K-12 education, Senate Republicans prioritized the successful Read by Grade Three program as a critical support for literacy specialists in our schools. Additionally, the proposal restores funding for low-income preschoolers, teacher school supply reimbursements, and college and career readiness programs, among others.
Although not a component of the final balance sheet for the state General Fund, the Senate Republicans propose utilizing untapped CARES Act funding to create a hazard pay pool for Nevada’s schoolteachers who return to the classroom to educate our youth.
“We know parents are hungry to see their kids’ schools open,” said Senator Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas. “Utilizing CARES Act funds to recognize teachers who also return to school will help make school reopening possible.”
Senate Republicans recognize that additional CARES Act funds remain available for response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and that the prioritization of the use of those funds going forward should consider the essential role schools play in the health and development of children.