Sandoval signs budget appropriation bills to fund state government

CARSON CITY— It’s official. State government will continue to pay its bills and its employees will be paid for working during the two-year period beginning July 1.

Gov. Brian Sandoval on Monday signed into law three of the major appropriation bills needed to fund state government at a total cost exceeding $17 billion, of which $6.6 billion comes from state taxpayer dollars and fees.

There was no doubt that the governor would sign the bills since he consented to the budget passed by legislators in the final two days of the session that ended June 4.

In all, the governor signed 27 bills on Monday. In addition to the budget bills, he approved Assembly Bill 506, that provides about $100 million for capital improvement projects, mainly repairs like replacing roofs of state buildings, and Assembly Bill 491, that continues for two more years an increase in car registration fees that drivers have been paying since 2009.

This was one of the so-called “sunset taxes” that were due to expire June 30. Sandoval, however, said he needed to continue the taxes through June 30, 2015, to balance the state budget.

The tax extension had support from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, a remarkable happening since there has been a lot of criticism, especially from Republicans, that this was a tax increase that would draw the wrath of voters.

Other bills signed into law Monday:

—Sandoval approved Senate Bill 515 that will allow the Employment Security Division to float a bond needed to pay off about an $800 million loan owed to the U.S. Department of Defense.

When Nevada went into an extreme recession in 2008, it needed to borrow money to keep paying state unemployment benefits to laid-off workers. By using a bond, the state hopes to reduce the interest costs it now pays to the federal government, pay off the entire loan and build a reserve for future recessions. Employers will pay these costs, as they also pay costs of the state unemployment compensation program.

—Assembly Bill 130, sponsored by Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, R-Mesquite. This law will require the state to pay tuition and textbook costs to the sons and daughters of police, firefighters, Nevada Highway Patrol troopers and ambulance drivers killed in the line of duty. The funds will allow their children to go to state college and universities for free, although they still must pay living costs.

—Assembly Bill 444, a law that requires an audit to determine costs associated with the death penalty, including costs of the numerous appeals filed by inmates facing execution.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3900.

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