More than 20 months later, nearly every one of those dollars has been spent or appropriated — including 96 percent of the more than $2.7 billion in flexible state aid for the state.
Of that much, state legislators working alongside the Sisolak administration have appropriated $530 million for housing, more than $218 million for pre-12th grade education, and a whopping pot of nearly $800 million for a wide range of government services, state technology upgrades and positions. administrative. That included $335 million to repay federal loans that were tapped to maintain unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
Although some dollars quickly slipped out of the state’s hands, including $30 million earmarked for grants to community nonprofits, state leaders have touted federal flexible money as a way to make long-needed investments in state services that would otherwise not be possible.
On the day Biden signed the ARP into law, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement that he looked forward to using the money to continue progress on reopening school buildings and stabilizing the economy, “while developing a strategy to maximize these funds for long-term benefits.”
During an October meeting of state legislators, Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D-Las Vegas) called the ARP money an “unprecedented amount of money,” which “will bring about massive structural change in the state.”
Previous federal stimulus packages, including the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed in March 2020, have helped state and local governments combat the spread of COVID-19 and stabilize the national economy. In Nevada, the unemployment rate jumped to a record high of about 30 percent early in the pandemic, before falling to 9.2 percent by March 2021, and 4.4 percent in September.
Major federal relief bills have also sent direct payments to taxpayers, helping to keep workers afloat amid the economic turmoil and public health crisis.
With huge sums of money already poured directly into COVID-19 response efforts, ARP funds have provided Nevada officials with funding for more than half of the state’s annual general fund budget, with relatively broad spending guidelines.
During the final weeks of the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers approved significant funding appropriations, including $335 million to repay loans used to prop up a state unemployment fund and $215 million to address pandemic-related learning loss in schools.
Since then, only about a third of state lawmakers have participated in decisions approving hundreds of millions of dollars. With a part-time legislature that only meets for 120 days each odd year, the Interim Finance Committee—a group of lawmakers who approve spending decisions outside regular legislative sessions—has taken on a large role by being responsible for approving spending decisions on the plan. resettlement (ARP). By Sisolac Administration.
With an unprecedented amount of federal money flexible to spend, last summer Nevada officials, including Sisolak and Treasurer Zack Koonen, embarked on a statewide listening tour to collect ideas from the state of Nevada on how best to allocate dollars. Housing and healthcare often top the list of concerns.
These concerns were reflected in how Sisolak pushed to spend the money. During his State of the Year address outside of the year in February, he announced a wide range of ARP spending plans, including a $500 million affordable housing initiative later approved by the Interim Finance Committee.
Lawmakers also approved comprehensive investments in the state’s public and mental health services, which often rank among the worst in the country due to a lack of caregivers and accessible care. Those investments included about $150 million to expand and build new public facilities across the state, including $75 million for a new facility at the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno.
After the October meeting of the Interim Finance Committee, only $135 million of the more than $2.7 billion in government public aid (less than 5 percent) remained unallocated, even though $38.3 million of those dollars is already earmarked for “agency programs.” The state”.
With a deadline to allocate dollars by the end of 2024 — and spend them by the end of 2026 — Republican governor-elect Joe Lombardo will have that small 5 percent portion of the money left to include in his recommended budget for the state.
Read the charts below to explore how Nevada officials have allocated more than $2.6 billion in flexible aid from the American Rescue Plan: