Treasurer's office adds some money to help the budget

Nevada's treasurer has moved $10 million from the state's bond redemption accounts into the general fund to help ease the state's budget crisis.

Treasurer Brian Krolicki said Monday he is preparing to move another $2 million in unappropriated funds from the unclaimed property account.

Those are two of three revenue sources Krolicki promised Gov. Kenny Guinn and the Legislature to help offset the state's budget shortfall.

The money from the bond fund has built up over years in the form of excess interest not needed to pay off state bonds. A careful accounting of that fund showed about $10 million more than needed to make state bond payments which Krolicki said can be moved to the general fund.

The unclaimed property law was changed last year to allow the account to be "swept" more often. Lawmakers knew about that revenue source during the 2001 Legislature and used about $11 million of the money to help balance the budget. Krolicki said that and another $2 million will be moved to the general fund in the near future. And he said he expects to move another $4 million before the end of the fiscal year.

But the biggest piece of funding Krolicki hopes to contribute to the budget shortfall is $20 million from a contract allowing a private Wall Street firm to receive and invest the state's bond payment funds. He estimates a private firm would be willing to pay the state $20 million up front for that privilege since a company can use investments the state Treasurer's Office can't and make a higher rate of return.

But that plan drew some questions from legislators at the Interim Finance Committee. They questioned whether the state was giving up the ability to make more than that amount once the economy recovers.

Krolicki said that plan is moving ahead but that he is working with lawmakers and their staff to make sure they support it.

"We're perfectly comfortable but we want to work with LCB to make sure they share that comfort," he said.


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