Nevada Governor signs drastic budget cuts into law – a summary of reductions

Higher Education, Health and Human Services bear brunt of spending cutbacks

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed AB3 into law on July 19, 2020 - photo: the Office of Steve Sisolak

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has signed a bill into law that will enact deep budget cuts to almost every aspect of the state government.

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, during the 2019 Nevada Legislative Session, Governor Sisolak and lawmakers appropriated various sums of money for the support of the state government for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 budget years, some $29.4 billion in state spending for the biennium.

The closure of casinos and bars and many other businesses in March of this year to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus put a $1.2 billion dollar hole in a $14.7 billion 2020-2021 budget.

Governor Sisolak called a special session of the Nevada State Legislature to tackle the shortfall, which got underway on July 8. The Governor proposed budget cuts to balance the state’s accounts. During the special session, lawmakers and fiscal analysts labored over the budget decisions.

On Saturday night, the Nevada State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 3 by a 29 to 13 margin. While a couple other cost savings measures were passed during the Special Session, AB3 is the primary plan to address the General Fund shortfall for fiscal year 2020-2021.

AB3 passed the Senate by a unanimous vote of 21-0 on Sunday afternoon.

Governor Sisolak promptly signed the measure.

The 83 page bill details sweeping cuts to education, Health and Human Services and all but every aspect of the Nevada State Government. Below is a list of notable budget cuts.

Nevada System of Higher Education

University of Nevada Reno

The UNR 2019-2020 budget was $130,357,424
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $104,838,780
After the reductions of AB3 – $79,079,562
Amount of budget reduction – $25,759,218, an effective 24.6 percent reduction

UNR Statewide Programs

The UNR Statewide Programs 2019-2020 budget was $8,749,206
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $8,461,957
After the reductions of AB3 – $6,798,655
Amount of budget reduction – $1,663,302, an effective 19.7 percent reduction

University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine

The University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine 2019-2020 budget was $37,561,465
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $37,632,115
After the reductions of AB3 – $30,235,051
Amount of budget reduction – $7,397,064, an effective 19.7 percent reduction

University of Nevada Las Vegas

The University of Nevada Las Vegas 2019-2020 budget was $181,018,756
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $145,306,109
After the reductions of AB3 – $109,603,946
Amount of budget reduction – $35,702,163, an effective 24.6 percent reduction

UNLV Statewide Programs

The UNLV Statewide Programs 2019-2020 budget was $3,814,504
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $3,818,417
After the reductions of AB3 – $3,067,859
Amount of budget reduction – $750,558, an effective 19.7 percent reduction

UNLV Law School

The UNLV Law School 2019-2020 budget was $10,430,525
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $10,456,418
After the reductions of AB3 – $8,401,078
Amount of budget reduction – $2,055,340, an effective 19.66 percent reduction

Great Basin College

The UNLV Statewide Programs 2019-2020 budget was $13,230,752
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $10,619,367
After the reductions of AB3 – $7,872,562
Amount of budget reduction – $2,746,805, an effective 25.87 percent reduction

Nevada State College

The Nevada State College 2019-2020 budget was $20,746,937
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $16,655,158
After the reductions of AB3 – $12,386,027
Amount of budget reduction – $4,269,131, an effective 25.63 percent reduction

Desert Research Institute

The Desert Research Institute 2019-2020 budget was $10,430,525
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $10,456,418
After the reductions of AB3 – $8,401,078
Amount of budget reduction – $2,055,340, an effective 19.66 percent reduction

College of Southern Nevada

The College of Southern Nevada 2019-2020 budget was $102,867,716
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $82,579,803
After the reductions of AB3 – $62,249,773
Amount of budget reduction – $20,330,030, an effective 24.62 percent reduction

Western Nevada College

The Western Nevada College 2019-2020 budget was $14,565,829
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $11,691,965
After the reductions of AB3 – $8,760,245
Amount of budget reduction – $2,931,720, an effective 25.07 percent reduction

Truckee Meadows Community College

The Truckee Meadows Community College 2019-2020 budget was $35,919,997
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $28,835,736
After the reductions of AB3 – $ 21,358,441
Amount of budget reduction – $ 7,477,295, an effective 25.93 percent reduction

Prison Education Program

The Prison Education Program 2019-2020 budget was $361,251
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $396,126
After the reductions of AB3 – $318,263
Amount of budget reduction – $77,863, an effective 19.66 percent reduction

Department of Health and Human Services

Division of Health Care Financing and Policy, Nevada Medicaid Contribution

The Nevada Medicaid contribution 2019-2020 budget was $805,620,640
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $894,790,875
After the reductions of AB3 – $767,246,616
Amount of budget reduction – $127,544,259, an effective 14.25 percent reduction

Autism Treatment Assistance Program

The Autism Treatment Assistance Program 2019-2020 budget was $8,161,244
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $9,198,979
After the reductions of AB3 – $3,506,458
Amount of budget reduction – $5,692,521, an effective 61.88 percent reduction

Washoe County Child Welfare

The Washoe County Child Welfare 2019-2020 budget was $17,727,632
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $17,831,693
Amount of budget increase – $104,061, an effective 2.72 percent increase

Clark County Child Welfare

The Clark County Child Welfare 2019-2020 budget was $54,292,727
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $54,778,363
Amount of budget increase – $485,636, an effective 8.80 percent increase

Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Services

The Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Services  2019-2020 budget was $1,368,459
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $1,393,559
Amount of budget increase – $25,100, an effective 1.83 percent increase

Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services

The Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services 2019-2020 budget was $81,939,429
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $83,700,404
After the reductions of AB3 – $82,742,807
Amount of budget reduction – $ 957,597, an effective 1.14 percent reduction

Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services

The Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services 2019-2020 budget was $24,290,635
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $24,935,892
After the reductions of AB3 – $24,382,209
Amount of budget reduction – $553,683, an effective 2.22 percent reduction

Rural Clinics

The Rural Clinics 2019-2020 budget was $11,984,407
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $12,199,387
After the reductions of AB3 – $12,158,394
Amount of budget reduction – $40,993, an effective 0.34 percent reduction

Assistance to Aged and Blind

The Assistance to Aged and Blind 2019-2020 budget was $10,763,355
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $11,187,527
Amount of budget increase – $424,172, an effective 3.79 percent increase

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families 2019-2020 budget was $24,607,703
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $24,607,703
Amount of budget reduction – $0, an effective 0.00 percent reduction

Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services

The Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services 2019-2020 budget was $81,939,429
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $83,700,404
After the reductions of AB3 – $82,742,807
Amount of budget reduction – $957,597, an effective 1.14 percent reduction

Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Service

The Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Service 2019-2020 budget was $24,290,635
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $24,935,892
After the reductions of AB3 – $24,382,209
Amount of budget reduction – $553,683, an effective 2.22 percent reduction

Problem Gambling

The Problem Gambling 2019-2020 budget was $1,681,294
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $2,098,054
After the reductions of AB3 – $1,274,513
Amount of budget reduction – $823,541, an effective 39.25 percent reduction

Office of Veterans Services

The Office of Veterans Services 2019-2020 budget was $2,109,585
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $2,193,183
After the reductions of AB3 – $1,932,273
Amount of budget reduction – $260,910, an effective 11.90 percent reduction

Support for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

The Support for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency 2019-2020 budget was $1,920,215
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $1,820,215
After the reductions of AB3 – $1,565,384
Amount of budget reduction – $254,831, an effective 14.00 percent reduction

The Governor’s Office Administrative Staff

The Governor’s Office 2019-2020 budget was $2,733,781
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $2,768,567
After the reductions of AB3 – $2,658,567
Amount of budget reduction – $110,000, an effective 3.97 percent reduction.

The Office of Lieutenant Governor

The Governor’s Office 2019-2020 budget was $713,060
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $747,758
After the reductions of AB3 – $727,621
Amount of budget reduction – $20,137, an effective 2.69 percent reduction

Secretary of State

The Secretary of State 2019-2020 budget was $17,424,026
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $18,355,760
After the reductions of AB3 – $15,204,823, an effective 17 percent reduction
Amount of budget reduction – $3,150,937, an effective 17.17 percent reduction.

State Library

The State Library 2019-2020 budget was $2,745,765.
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $2,803,246
After the reductions of AB3 – $2,666,361, an effective 4.8 percent reduction.

Governor’s Office of Economic Development

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development 2019-2020 budget was $7,701,185
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $7,672,425
After the reductions of AB3 – $6,532,553
Amount of budget reduction – $1,139,872, an effective 14.9 percent reduction

Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs

Nevada Arts Council

The Nevada Arts Council 2019-2020 budget was $513,474
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $518,344
After the reductions of AB3 – $448,408
Amount of budget reduction – $69,936, an effective 13.49 percent reduction

Reno Historical Society

The Reno Historical Society 2019-2020 budget was $288,623
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $297,067
After the reductions of AB3 – $249,464
Amount of budget reduction – $47,603, an effective 16.0 percent reduction

Nevada Humanities

The Nevada Humanities 2019-2020 budget was $125,000
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $125,000
Amount of budget reduction – $0, an effective 0.0 percent reduction

Stewart Indian School Living Legacy

The Stewart Indian School Living Legacy 2019-2020 budget was $119,093
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $115,480
After the reductions of AB3 – $108,968
Amount of budget reduction – $6,512, an effective 5.64 percent reduction

Nevada Department of Education

The Ally will publish a separate report on the impacts of budget cuts on the state’s K-12 schools. Below are cuts made to the Nevada Department of Education.

Office of the Superintendent

The Office of the Superintendent 2019-2020 budget was $2,200,089
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $2,016,543
After the reductions of AB3 – $1,643,038
Amount of budget reduction – $373,505, an effective 18.52 percent reduction

Office of Early Learning and Development

The Office of Early Learning and Development 2019-2020 budget was $20,777,239
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $20,798,591
After the reductions of AB3 – $14,485,433
Amount of budget reduction – $6,313,158, an effective 30.35 percent reduction

Assessments and Accountability

The Assessments and Accountability 2019-2020 budget was $14,518,617
Initially allocated for 2020-2021 –  $14,753,249
After the reductions of AB3 – $13,662,467
Amount of budget reduction – $1,090,782, an effective 7.39 percent reduction


Brian Bahouth is the editor of the Sierra Nevada Ally and has variously reported on the Nevada State Legislature for 10 biennial sessions. Support his work.