What Will Happen if Nevada Closes?

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

If a tax plan isn't reached to fund the budget by July 1, what would that mean for the state?

Gov. Guinn has already announced he may be forced to shutdown state government.

What happens next may all depend on the distribution school account.

Lawmakers tied the school distribution act to the tax package, as a last minute move before the legislature adjourned its regular session.

By doing that, school administrators now have no idea what funding they'll get this year from the state. And legislators haven't figured out how they'll raise the money to pay for education.

"They tell us the per-pupil amount per student and we plug that into our budget," says Washoe County School District spokesman Steve Mulvenon. "We can't do anything until they vote on the distribution school account."

The Washoe County school district has already offered contracts to 500 new employees. However, because of the uncertainty they're finding out some of those teachers are saying "no thanks" and taking other jobs in different states.

"The legislature has to provide a budget for the distribution school account and they have to provide the money to fund it," says Perry Comeaux, Nv. state Budget Director. "If they don't pass a tax bill, they won't have enough money to fund the distribution school account."

Comeaux says that could have a ripple effect on the rest of state services.

If lawmakers don't pass a tax plan, the governor's office saya they may have to cut into other department budgets to pay for education.

"If some revenue isn't generated and a significant amount, some part of state government could be effected - no way around that," Comeaux says.

But, before the legislature adjourned from its regular session, it passed two bills to fund state government - even if Governor Guinn shuts it down.

State agencies, like the Department of Corrections, also have contigency plans in place if no additional revenue is generated.

But, state officials don't expect public safety to be compromised.

Washoe County district officials say, come July first, they're out of money. Administrators say without a budget and a way to fund it, they would close district operations and send all employees home because they would have no way to pay them.

We should also add we had interviews with other department heads from the state, but they cancelled after the governor's office said it was channeling all comments to budget director Perry Comeaux.


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