Nevada’s rainy-day fund soars to twice the level seen in 2020

Nevada’s rainy-day fund has soared to $904 million, the highest balance in state history, according to Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine.

The balance grew to this level following the transfer of $516.9 million from the state’s general fund last week, according to a release from the treasurer.

The balance is more than double what it was in early 2020.

“With our rainy-day fund now at its highest level in history, Nevadans can rest assured that the state’s finances are on solid ground, as we work to make critical investments in housing, public education, and affordable health care,” Conine said in a statement. “I am hopeful that our strong rainy-day fund will help the governor and the Legislature as they work to build a budget for the next two years to move our state forward.”

Nevada Gov. Joseph Lombardo’s fiscal 2023-25 biennium budget would boost the rainy-day fund to $1.6 billion, and forecasts reserves totaling $2.2 billion, including $729 million for the Education Stabilization Account.

Lombardo released his $11 billion budget on Jan. 23 to coincide with the first-year governor’s State of the State address.

The budget represents an increase of more than $1.7 billion over the current two-year state spending plan, but Nevada is flush with cash after carrying over a $1.9 billion windfall in extra cash from the current budget period.

Spurred by inflation and increased consumer spending, state revenues from sales and gaming taxes jumped.

Total revenue collections continue to trend higher than projections from the Economic Forum, and the state has maintained its highest credit ratings ever, boasted Conine in the release.

The state holds AA-plus ratings from both Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings and a Aa1 rating from Moody’s Investors Service. All assign a stable outlook.

State laws required that several transfers be made from the general fund to the rainy-day fund, officially called the Account to Stabilize the Operation of State Government.

The law stipulates that 1% of total anticipated revenue for each fiscal year — as projected by the Economic Forum — be transferred into the rainy-day fund as well as 40% of the unrestricted balance of the state’s general fund that exceeds 7% of operation appropriations.

The balance was achieved, because 1% of projected revenues brought a $47.2 million transfer to reserves, combined with a $516.9 million transfer equal to 40% of the fiscal year 2022 year-end unrestricted balance that exceeded 7% of general fund operation appropriations . These deposits, added to the state’s existing balance in the rainy-day fund, brings the total near $1 billion.

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