Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Thursday that state employees will likely face furloughs, freezes on merit salary increases and less than 50 layoffs beginning next month when the new fiscal year begins.
State employees were informed of the cost-savings measures through a letter and accompanying video distributed by the governor’s office. Furloughs will be one day a month for all state employees beginning in July. No changes are expected to the health insurance or retirement benefits.
Nevada is currently estimating a $1.3 billion shortfall in fiscal year 2021; $900 million of that is within the General Fund, with the remainder falling under the Distributive School Account that funds K-12 education.
In a press release announcing the cuts, the governor’s office stated that “without significant federal funding to assist with the state’s revenue shortfall, Nevada will not be able to avoid severe reductions in general fund support for agencies and services that represent the majority of the general fund expenditures, including health and human services, K-12, higher education and public safety.”
The release goes on to state the governor’s finance office is working with legislative leadership to “review and finalize budgetary proposals to address the Fiscal Year 2021 shortfall and coordinate timing for an upcoming special session to finalize the proposals before July 1.”
A union that is representing thousands of state workers in collective bargaining negotiations complained state employees have been left out of the decision-making process.
“When our state falls on hard times, state employees are always the first to be asked to make sacrifices,” said AFSCME Local 4041 President Harry Schiffman in a statement. “State employees have been completely shut out of any discussion regarding our working conditions and we demand a say before any decisions about our work and lives are made.”
(This story was updated to add comments from AFSCME.)