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OPINION: Responsible budgeting: Any excess state cash should be used to avoid state debt

By ThisIsReno

By Geoffrey Lawrence – Nevada Policy Research Institute

Today, the Nevada Economic Forum — a panel of five civilians knowledgeable in areas of finance and economics — will deliver new projections for the amount of revenue that will be available for state government over the next two fiscal years. As the Forum’s December projections are binding on the governor’s Executive Budget proposal, its May projections are binding on the total amount of appropriations that lawmakers can approve.

In the time since the Forum’s December projections, key economic indicators in Nevada have recovered slightly from the protracted decline associated with the Great Recession. As a result, state revenues have recently increased from a variety of tax instruments. Most notably, sales tax revenues have begun to tick upward as the total volume of sales receipts has increased.

This has led to widespread speculation that the Economic Forum would increase its December General Fund revenue projections of $5.34 billion by a substantial margin. Last week, a technical advisory group that develops initial projections of revenues resulting from the state’s minor tax instruments decided that these minor revenue streams would yield $72 million more than was projected in December.

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