Nevada Expects Big Lift from Federal Stimulus Package

Some $4.5 billion could be headed Nevada’s way from the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 recovery bill that became law last week. City and county governments, schools and Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport (l.) all are in line for funding.

Nevada Expects Big Lift from Federal Stimulus Package

Nevada is in line to receive some $4.5 billion in badly needed relief from the federal government’s $1.9 trillion Covid recovery package.

Most of the aid will be distributed to the state’s hard-pressed cities and counties, but it also includes money for schools, mass transit and Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

“This funding will be a lifeline for Nevada’s state and local governments, whose budgets have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, and will keep educators, health workers and first responders on the job,” said Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who represents the state in the U.S. Senate.

The state’s congressional delegation, including Democratic Reps. Dina Titus, Steven Horsford and Susie Lee, all of whom were instrumental in crafting the original bill, were enthusiastic as well.

“The bill will provide Nevada and Clark County the flexibility we need to accelerate vaccine distribution, keep frontline workers on the payroll and help get our economy back on track,” Titus said. “Nevada is finally getting its fair share.”

“I’m stoked,” Horsford said.

The measure will send $2.9 billion to Nevada’s state government, $439 million to Clark County and another $130 million to Las Vegas, in addition to monies slated for other cities and counties around the state.

Titus is credited with winning a change in how $350 billion of the municipal aid will be distributed under the legislation with an amendment that now requires the federal government to take into account the unemployment rate of a state.

Nevada’s tourism-dependent economy has suffered record job losses as a result of the pandemic. The jobless rate spiraled to 30 percent at one point last spring and stands currently at around 9.2 percent.

“Nevada has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country, and yet previous federal relief efforts treated our state the same as others,” Titus said.

The historic legislation, which passed the Senate and House of Representatives over uniform Republican opposition and was signed by President Joe Biden on March 11, also will provide funding to support Medicaid, child care, food for low-income families and mortgage and rent assistance.

Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, will see about $835 million in school aid, while McCarran will get around $171 million, and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada $130 million.

Another $750 million in assistance will be distributed as grants to communities that suffered economic hardship due to tourism and hospitality closures. Nevada is eligible to apply for the grants, which will be overseen by the Economic Development Administration.

A federal subsidy for COBRA health care for furloughed or laid-off workers also will be increased from 85 percent to 100 percent.

Many Nevadans will also receive direct payments from the federal government of $1,400 if they make less than $75,000 per year, or $2,800 per couple.

Federal unemployment assistance, which was set to expire the end of last week, will be extended into the fall.

There is also a provision to increase the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 annually to $3,600 per child.

The measure also includes money to ramp up production of vaccines and distribute them nationwide as Biden pushes his goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.