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United States

Nevada lawmakers brace for release of revenue projections

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A five-member panel of Nevada analysts and business leaders is expected to release economic forecasts Tuesday for the upcoming two years projecting the revenue that state lawmakers will have available to fund health care, education and other state services.

Business closures and fewer tourists travelling to Las Vegas plunged Nevada into a recession in the early months in the pandemic, cutting deeply into the taxes and fees that the state uses to underwrite its budget.

As a result, state lawmakers last summer slashed Medicaid reimbursement rates and specialty health care programs plus funding for the state’s worst performing schools.

In December, the Economic Forum that issues the forecasts projected a quicker-than-expected recovery amid uncertainty about vaccine distribution.

The panel said the return of tourists and consumer spending would bring the state more tax revenue than anticipated. But analysts still predicted it would take until at least 2023 for revenue to rebound to pre-pandemic levels.

The December projections allowed Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak to propose fewer budget cuts than anticipated. The projections released on Tuesday will determine whether lawmakers can restore more money to agency budgets that were cut.

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Sam Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Sam Metz, The Associated Press