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April 26, 2015

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Brian Sandoval: Let local officials raise taxes



Gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval talks with Tim Wulf on Saturday at the Washoe County Republican Party headquarters in Reno.

Rory Reid

Rory Reid

Brian Sandoval has promised that if he is elected governor he won’t raise taxes. But that doesn’t mean he won’t let others do it.

The Republican candidate said Monday that he would support giving local governments the authority to raise taxes, if the state turns over responsibility for some services to cities and counties.

Sandoval has not released a plan for how he will balance the state budget. Experts say revenue for the biennium will come in about $3 billion below current spending levels.

On a tour of Galena High School in Reno on Monday, Sandoval was asked whether he saw waste or duplication as he has toured almost 80 schools statewide.

The candidate didn’t answer the question. But he said the budget problems are so large all sources of state funding are going to have to take a hit.

He said he hoped that teachers would take a salary cut. And he criticized his Democratic opponent, Rory Reid, for promising to spare K-12 and higher education, which make up 55 percent of the budget.

Pressed for details on how he will balance the budget, Sandoval pointed to giving “home rule,” which allows local governments to make more decisions without the Legislature’s approval.

Asked if that would include giving counties the ability to raise taxes, Sandoval said, “Yes. But it would come with responsibilities.”

Reid’s campaign said Sandoval’s position amounts to “passing the buck.”

“Brian Sandoval doesn’t want to make any decision,” spokesman Mike Trask said. “Brian Sandoval has promised for months to provide a budget plan for Nevada. He has refused to do so.”

Later, Sandoval’s campaign clarified his comments to say that home rule would not extend to school districts, which don’t have individual taxing authority. Funding levels for school districts throughout the state must be equal.

In explaining his support for more local government control, Sandoval said local elected leaders meet year-round, the Legislature meets every two years. “There’s a disconnect,” he said.

State Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, last week raised the possibility of the state shifting some of its responsibilities to local governments, such as parole and probation and community colleges.

Although local elected officials had a mix of reactions to the idea, they uniformly expressed concern that state officials were avoiding making a tough choice between cutting or raising taxes.

Sandoval told high school students that he could improve education by giving schools more control, creating competition among campuses by using vouchers and giving merit pay to teachers whose students perform well. He also said it wouldn’t require any more money.

But some improvements do require money.

At Galena High, Assistant Principal Silvia Marin told Sandoval about some of the struggles and improvements the school had made. Hispanic English-language learners don’t make up a proportionate number of the advanced placement students. She said early last year the school had no after-school bus, meaning students without other transportation had to leave at 2:30 p.m. They couldn’t stay for after-school tutoring, to use computers or participate in programs such as ROTC.

That changed when a new school superintendent came in and asked what the school needed. Marin said they got the extra late bus, at a cost of $9,000 per semester.

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  1. Typical useless politician...talking out of both sides of his mouth...

    ...but saying nothing from either side.

    THESE are our choices for future leaders?

    Are we in trouble or what?

  2. The "I won't raise taxes!" proclamation from both Sandoval & Rory Reid should disqualify both of them from the election for Nevada's next Governor.

    There are, of course, certain essential services that need to be funded. The money has to come from
    SOMEWHERE. OF COURSE they can take some silly "pledge"; it's MEANINGLESS.
    What Sandoval is saying is;
    "I have NO PLANS to help you. But, certainly, as the state abandons you, your local Counties & cities can choose to do what's necessary to fund essential services. Heck, that's up to you guys."
    "No Problemo!"

  3. I've been looking at the numbers and it seems like the state Never actually cut the budget during the recession.

  4. We will need a 59 percent tax increase to cover the state agency budget request - that would be over 3 times larger than the largest tax hike in state history. Do you want one party in complete control to deal with the budget?

  5. There are two ways to do things. The fantasy based way looks at what other people say about what other people said about what the other people said, and each round of fantasy uses the former rounds of fantasy as the basis for their conclusions. The reality-based way tries to figure things out by going to the original sources and analyzing the data for accuracy, and bases analysis and action firmly upon accurate validated original data.

    Nevada is in fantasy mode. It has been in fantasy mode for some time. It elected a "no-new-tax" Governor -- and things got worse. The Governor was of one party and the Legislature mostly of another party -- and things got worse. We put in term limits -- things got worse. We put in tax limits -- things got worse.

    Maybe -- just maybe -- we could persist in Reality mode long enough to fix the place we live.

  6. Mr. Goodman, the reality based way of analyzing the data for accuracy etc., is a good idea. So lets do it.

    In 2003 the state legislature's tax hike produced enough revenue so that the state coffers had 31 percent more money by FY 2004. A booming economy kept those revenue's going.

    For 2007-09 the Nevada state legislature approved a $6.9 billion biennium budget. The recession hit us hard in 2008.

    In 2009 the legislature did some budget cuts and we ended up with a $6.9 billion budget. We had tax increases over $700 million worth.

    In 2010 the legislature did some more budget cuts, slashing the general fund from $6.9 to $6.4 (and amount that is still equivalent to what we spent in 05-07 in inflation adjusted dollars).

    But this cut was rhetorical only. $591 million in Federal ARRA money offset those cuts. So in reality we cut from a $6.9 billion budget to a $7 billion budget.

    IN reality world, we aren't going to fix this mess by raising taxes AGAIN. We've raised taxes twice. Once to create a massive government spending bubble and once more to maintain that spending bubble.

    This is a recession. Revenues are down. People are struggling. You don't keep raising taxes so government officials can keep their party going.

  7. What? Sandoval is saying something? Anything? I thought he knew better than that... if he starts saying what he's going to do.... people might just realize he isn't the anti- Reid. ... he better be careful!

  8. Just_Me: "Well if Sandoval is for 'Home Rule' he just got my vote."

    Agreed... but why doesn't he just come out for home rule? Seems fishy.

  9. Thanks, Patrick. So I take it that one of the problems of State Budgeting is that it is not accurately counting things. The state "cut" it's budget, but did not include what it spent in federal stimulus money, so it actually had higher expenditures than originally budgeted. Your point being that the Nevada state budget is not reality as far as income and expenses go but instead is a work of fiction.

    It would seem to follow that we need to accurately account for things. This is simple to say, but it will take broad agreement on a number of technical matters that are absolutely fundamental if we are ever to get things right but will bore everyone -- and of course it will take time at a time in which the public is impatient for results and totally intolerant of any delay.

  10. I wouldn't be surprised if Sandoval wrote a book on Good Government management with a foreword by Jim Gibbons.
    Right - let the locals raise the Taxes, then by State Law, the Nevada State Government can appropriate the revenues for their own use. THIS IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW! The RENO GOVERNMENT already appropriates revenues from Southern Nevada, like UNLV students, so that the Mesquite Ranchers can have their roads paved without paying the bills. These are the northerners that showed up for Sarah Palin's rally in Reno. Chunky Buns.

  11. Only chuckle headed dittoheads who listen to local talk radio think this clown won't raise taxes, after all he went to court to over-ride the 60% requirement to raise taxes.

    I'm sorry to see local broadcasters tolerate this type of hypocrisy. I heard some local boot-lick-er on radio today talking about "Harry REID'S EARMARKS."

    Of course, Ensign and Heller vote for them too.

    You never get a tough question for a Republican on local hate talk radio.

    I'm also shocked that Beasley Broadcasting refuses to apologize for the anti-LDS bigotry expressed by Las Vegas Review Journal columnist: Wayne Alan Root (10/15/2010 at 2:44 PM on the "Jerry Doyle Show" on KDWN 720AM) that: "Harry Reid was a member of the Mormon Mafia."

  12. @SunJon...

    "I wouldn't be surprised if Sandoval wrote a book on Good Government management with a foreword by Jim Gibbons."


    Thanks for that wonderful quote; I will be laughing about that one all day.

    Great post, Jon.

  13. Mr. Goodman,

    I'm not 100% sure if we actually made any real cuts to the budget. I'm thinking the cuts were very, very small at worst and at best, spending was probably flat. There aren't updated figures online and my calls and emails to the LCB and state budget office have gone unanswered.

    But you're right. Democrats and Republicans should all agree that an accurate accounting and reporting of spending is being done. It should be posted online in an easy to search and understand format.

    I think we should also post the state checkbook online that way we can see the spending down to the dollar.

    I think the only way anyone will get the right to vote for taxes in this economy is one can prove that every dollar is being used wisely and there is no more room for cuts.

    Besides, I think the purpose of government is to provide those services which the market a) cannot or b) will underpovide (market failure). The purpose of government is not to give cushy jobs to people while pretending to provide those services (government failure).

  14. I also think we shouldn't have kicked the can down the road like we have. We should have made real cuts in 2008 some more real cuts in 2009 and more real cuts in 2010 rather than trying our hardest to sustain boom town spending levels.

    I think that way we could have eased out of the spending bubble while allowing the private sector to recover quicker.

    Now we have a massive budget request we cannot possibly fill with a tax increase (59 percent). Even Governor Gibbons' figure is next to impossible to fill with a tax increase (38 percent).