[This was sent to DCNR employees Friday, January 16, 2009.]
Good afternoon to everyone in DCNR.
As I am sure you are aware, last night was the Governor’s State of the State address. This event sets the stage for the Executive Branch’s agenda for the upcoming legislative session and formally rolls out the Governor’s Recommended Budget.
Nevada is in a deep economic crisis where revenues are not matching expenditures. The gap is the billions. The Governor pledged in his campaign that he would not raise taxes. As a result, the recommended budget makes some significant programmatic and personnel related reductions to spending.
Some of the issues that are probably are of greatest interest to state employees are:
- An across-the-board 6% reduction in salaries of state workers (both classified and unclassified) and teachers.
- Elimination of step increases.
- Elimination of longevity pay.
- Impacts to the insurance subsidies for state workers and retirees.
Note that the Governor characterized these salary reductions as temporary and indicated he would reinstate them (including calling a special legislative session) when economic conditions improve.
From a programmatic standpoint, examples of impacts to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources include:
- The elimination of 40 full time positions throughout the Department and a number of seasonal employee months in the Division of State Parks. Please note that many of the positions to be eliminated are vacant.
- Reduction in grants to Conservation Districts.
- Reduced hours of operation of some parks and seasonal closure for others.
- Closure of the Tonopah Conservation Camp.
Overall this represents a reduction to the Department’s budget of 18.19% from the previous biennium.
A good information source for the entire recommended state budget can be found on line at Nevadaspending.com. This is a part of the Open Government Initiative and includes details of the Department’s budget down to the Division level.
I know these reductions are significant and disconcerting to everyone in state government and the Department. Keep in mind that this is the Governor’s Recommended Budget. Nothing is finalized until it is passed by the Legislature. On January 28th we begin the budget hearing process (I will post our presentation to the money committees online for you to view). We have five months ahead of us before we know the final budget outcome. I encourage you to stay informed and I will update you periodically on important activities related to the budget and legislative process.
A new P.E. in the Department
On a much more positive note, in my January email report I neglected to mention a Division of Environmental Protection employee who passed the Professional Engineering exam. Please join me in congratulating Francisco Vega in the Bureau of Air Pollution Control for becoming a P.E. (Civil Engineering). Well done!