NEW YORK – Nevada state taxpayers are getting a refund on more than $2 billion they spent in taxes that went uncollected and are looking for a new bank, Gov.
Brian Sandoval said Monday.
Sandoval also said he would appoint a new governor and chief financial officer to oversee the state’s finances.
Sandoval, who has been the governor since 2010, made the announcement on a conference call with reporters in his office, as the state budget deficit has soared and Nevada’s credit rating has been downgraded to junk.
The state budget is $6.6bn.
Sandovals decision was greeted with some skepticism by lawmakers who say the money could have been spent more effectively.
The bank, which Sandoval created and named Nevadans Bank, received $2,621.9 million in refunds from the state of Nevada and the federal government in the fiscal year ending July 1, 2015.
The refunds totaled more than the total amount spent in the past five years by the bank on general state and local government and education.
The bank also received $1.3 billion in state grants for general business development, said spokeswoman Megan McLean.
Sandovals budget, which included $1 billion for state employees and a $200 million bond issue, will be discussed at a special session of the state legislature later this month, McLean said.
Sandivals budget included $2 million for a tax credit for homebuyers, but that was for a one-time payment and not an ongoing payment, according to Sandoval’s office.
A second refund will go toward an unspecified tax credit program, the governor’s office said.
The money was used to pay down the state and its debts, according.
The state was in default on about $20 billion in outstanding bills, including about $9 billion owed to the Nevada General Assembly and another $1bn owed to Las Vegas.
The government also owes $5.2 billion to the state General Fund.
That money is earmarked for education and other state needs.
Sandavals plan calls for increasing state revenue from taxes and fees and reducing spending on public schools.
Nevadans bank, based in Las Vegas, was established in 1997 by Sandoval and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.
The Nevada bank is the first of its kind in the country and the first bank to offer a state-wide account for residents, said Sarah Rafferty, director of state government services at the Nevada Banking Association.
The idea of the bank comes from a time when many states didn’t have their own banks, Raffert said.
Nevada became the first state to establish a state bank in 1998, according a spokeswoman.
Nevada has two other state banks, the Las Vegas branch of the California Bankers Association and the Reno branch of Southern Nevada Banking Corporation.
Nevadas largest creditor, the Nevada Department of Banking and Insurance, is the bank’s largest creditor.
The Department of Insurance covers more than one-quarter of the revenue of the Nevada bank, according state records.