Las Vegas Sun

January 23, 2018

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Governor warns against successor’s financial plans

"Face to Face With Jon Ralston" airs on Las Vegas ONE, Cox cable channel 19. Programs air daily at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 10:30 p.m., and 3 a.m. and 11 a.m. the following day. Weekend rebroadcasts air at the above times, as well as Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

In an interview to air Thursday, Gov. Kenny Guinn said that he's "scared to death" of his successor coming in and saying the state doesn't need any more money.

Guinn, speaking on "Face to Face With Jon Ralston," was asked where the state is going after he leaves office.

"I tell you what, I will be very concerned about somebody who would get elected and come to this office and say, well, we don't need any more money," Guinn said during the show, which will be shown Thursday on Las Vegas ONE, Cox cable channel 19. "I would be scared to death of that happening in this state."

Ralston asked the governor if he was referring to Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., who is planning a run for governor and has been critical of a plan in the 2003 Legislature to raise taxes, a plan pushed by Guinn. Several years ago, Gibbons pushed and passed a constitutional amendment requiring the Legislature to get a two-thirds vote to pass any new tax.

Guinn would not say if he was talking about Gibbons. He said he was talking about "anyone who would come in with that philosophy" and said a "populist philosophy will hurt this state for years to come."

"All you've got to do is look next door to California. Look where they are today. (Gov.) Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to come in and save everybody. His polls are below 40 percent now. He's borrowed $34 billion."

Guinn was not available to comment this morning. His spokesman, Greg Bortolin, said Guinn is "extremely concerned" with the future of the state and said he will support whoever is the Republican nominee for governor.

On the TV show Guinn said Nevada has taken action that "lays out a pretty good program."

"We don't have a state income tax. Never will, I don't believe, and we don't have a corporate income tax. We're not in the position they're in in all our bordering states."

Nevada Democratic Party spokesman Jon Summers said the comments appeared to be aimed at Gibbons, and he noted that the two Republicans have had issues in the past.

"When Gibbons ran for governor back in 1994 against (then governor) Bob Miller, Guinn endorsed Miller, the Democrat, over Gibbons. The governor is certainly being consistent."

Billy Rogers, a political consultant with Southwest Strategies, said he did not know to whom Guinn was referring.

"Is he talking about Gibbons?" Rogers asked.

But there are no prominent potential candidates for governor talking about raising taxes now, Rogers said.

"The economy here is strong," he said. "You're not going to hear any of the candidates for governor talking about raising taxes. In this legislative session, they're talking about rebates, not hikes."

Robert Uithoven, spokesman for Friends of Jim Gibbons, his exploratory committee for the governor's race, said he did not think this was a clear shot at Gibbons, based on hearing a transcript of the interview.

"The governor is clearly entitled to his opinion," he said. "Jim Gibbons is not a candidate for governor today but he does have a strong record of helping all Nevadans, whether fortunate or less fortunate, achieve their dreams."

"I think that begins with the best education you can provide, the best economic opportunities you can provide and the best retirement security you can provide."

Uithoven said Gibbons will wait until after the legislative session is over to announce whether he will run for governor. He said he does not want to distract the current legislators and governor from doing their jobs. The announcement could come this summer.