The full address may be seen here:
Governor Sisolak began by reviewing the highlights of the last Legislative session:
- Provided raises to teachers and funding for schools
- Ended surprise emergency room billing
- Outlawed dropping those with pre-existing conditions from insurance programs
- Implemented climate strategy
- Lowered unemployment
He then went over the immediate priorities that he wants to focus on: winning the battle against COVID, vaccinate our people, get students back in classroom, get the economy back on track and people back to work, and looking ahead to next steps.
The Governor reviewed the state’s COVID-19 response:
- Provided 250,000 meals per month
- Bridged the digital divide, getting all students a computer and access to internet
- Millions for rental assistance and eviction mediation
- Historic NV National Guard activation
- Increased lab testing for COVID-19 tests
Sisolak stressed that we have to be united in efforts to get rid of COVID-19 by continuing to wear masks, social distance, and proper hand washing. He then gave information regarding the state’s vaccination efforts. Over 100,000 initial doses of vaccine have been given so far. A vaccination response team has been formed, and the vaccination workforce has expanded to include dentists and other medically trained workers. The response team launched a vaccination mega-site at Cashman Center and is coordinating with the private sector and parterning with health providers to increase vaccination sites.
Governor Sisolak then moved to the economy. More than 250,00 Nevadans were laid off in the first months of the crisis. Hospitality is a priority to reopen, as well as expand the economy for new opportunities. In partnership with the State Treasurer, he launched the small business grant program to give up to $10,000 to small businesses across the state. An additional $50M will go to this program in his budget. Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall will head a Small Business Advocacy Center to help with these resources.
Economic Action Plan
- New Energy Economy- Nevada can become a leader in energy, we are already a leader in renewable. Want to lead in energy storage by increasing storage, transmission, and distribution of clean energy. This will also create jobs. Lithium mining will be a focus. Nevada has the most accessible lithium deposits in North America.
- Creation of Innovation Zones-Companies with innovative ideas can come to Nevada to develop, without tax abatements or use of public funds
- Preparing our workforce for New Nevada economy- Many jobs lost will not come back, so training and re-training will be key to the future. We are creating the Nevada Job Force to implement training programs. Community colleges will play a role in training. Will be asking Legislature to provide a framework to work independently from NSHE as well as create a Remote Work Resource Center to help companies navigate available resources.
- Building our Infrastructure-Capital projects create jobs, and they serve as the building blocks for future development. Calling on agencies to fast-track projects to put people to work. $75M is in the budget for infrastructure projects
- Making Government Work Better- Many government systems are out of date, this was apparent with DETR. With additional resources, the original backlog of claims has been reduced by 95%. Recommending to Legislature that we use private sector to help with modernization. Will also be focusing on increasing Nevada’s share of federal grants.
- Budget is $8.5B -$418M more than projected in June by Economic Forum
- General fund revenue down 9%
- Propose using $100M from rainy day fund
- $187M less in expenditures than in previous budget
- Will not include furloughs of state employees in second half of biennium
- Restores $40M in funding for preschool
- $415M for construction maintenance, planning and economic development
- $25M for UNLV medical building
- Restores 6% Medicare rate reductions
The Governor gave credit and kudos to state educators. It became apparent how schools keep the economy buzzing. COVID-19 has exacerbated educational inequities. Mental health has become an issue with students as well. Getting students back to the classroom is a main priority. This is being accomplished by distributing PPE to districts, making rapid testing available, prioritizing vaccines for educators, and increased funding. The Commission on School Funding was created to implement the new Student-Centered funding plan. Recommending a phased approach for implementation to allow districts to better manage changes and funds. Marijuana tax dollars will continue to help fund education.
Rebuttal from Assemblywoman Robin Titus
- Provide accessible and equitable healthcare to all Nevadans
- Protection for doctors from civil liability, entice new providers to come to Nevada
- Get kids back in classroom
- Education system needs to give options for best success of students
- Workforce Development
- Increase awareness of mining industry
- Introduce students to STEM jobs
- Protect hospitality and tourism industries
- Strengthen Economy
- No additional shutdowns
- Not increase taxes on industries, especially mining
- Fight for a tax-friendly business environment and promote small business growth
- Need an effective and accountable government
- Prioritize transparency, checks and balances
- No new laws that bypass legislative bodies
- Reign-in over-reach of state government
- Election Reform
- Keep politicians accountable
- Make sure only legitimate votes are counted
- Pushing new bills to promote electoral confidence
- Fair redistricting