Plans or platitudes?
That is our choice when it comes to electing the next governor of Nevada.
Republican Adam Laxalt, currently the state’s attorney general, has outlined clear and precise plans for helping grow the economy of the state, while Democrat Steve Sisolak, currently a Clark County commissioner, offers vague platitudes.
“First and foremost, we must recognize that one of the most important things we can do to promote economic growth and opportunity is to protect Nevada’s status as a safe haven from high taxes,” candidate Laxalt says on his campaign website. “Nevada has long been a place where we have recognized that keeping taxes low on our businesses, families and individuals provides them with the economic freedom they need to prosper and get ahead.”
He offers that a low tax burden allows private businesses to innovate, expand and hire more workers. He has specifically called for the repeal of the burdensome and complex commerce tax pushed through the Legislature by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
For his part Sisolak has called for a repeal of the property tax cap that limits annual property tax increases to 3 percent for private residences and 8 percent for commercial property. He also supported increasing room taxes in order to spend $750 million in public money to build a stadium for a billionaire professional football team owner.
Laxalt has opposed raising the minimum wage, which would hurt small businesses’ ability to hire young and low-skilled workers, while Sisolak has supported increasing the minimum wage.
Laxalt supports the Energy Choice Initiative, Question 3 on the November ballot, that would allow businesses and home owners to seek less expensive electricity suppliers, but Sisolak has come out against it.
Laxalt is also calling for reining in Nevada’s burdensome business licensing requirements that are the second-strictest in the nation, second only to California. “Upon taking office, I will propose an immediate freeze on all business license fees at current levels until we can put forward a thorough, open-to-the-public review of the revenue and whether the fees are becoming too disadvantageous and onerous for Nevada’s job-providers, particularly our small businesses,” the Republican candidate proposes.
When it comes to access to public land in Nevada, Sisolak’s platitudinous platform calls for: “Protect Nevada’s natural beauty. Not only does chipping away at our public lands — such as Gold Butte and Great Basin — damage our environment and communities, it hurts the state’s outdoor tourism economy.”
On the other hand, when President Obama designated the 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument, Laxalt put out a press release saying, “Although I am not surprised by the president’s actions, I am deeply disappointed at his last minute attempt to cement his environmental legacy by undermining local control of Nevada’s communities, and damaging our jobs and economy.”
Sisolak wants the government to continue to pick winners and losers, as it has with tax breaks and handouts for electric car companies and a football stadium, and expand giveaways to small businesses. “Support Nevada’s small businesses with incentives and grants so it’s not just the big companies that benefit from our help,” his website states.
Instead of handouts to a select few, Laxalt calls for creating what he calls a “regulatory sandbox” in Nevada. “Earlier this year, Arizona created the first regulatory sandbox in the United States,” Laxalt explains. “This innovative concept is based on the explicit recognition that financial regulators cannot develop new regulations as quickly as new financial instruments are developed. The sandbox instead gives firms wide latitude to experiment with new products as long as they’re up front with regulators about the risks involved.”
While Sisolak pushes the notion that government knows best, Laxalt understands that government should get out of the way.
“Today, many politicians in our state want to take us in a radical, reckless new direction,” he says. “They believe that bureaucrats, rather than free individuals and entrepreneurs, know best how to create jobs and economic growth. Their vision for Nevada is one with higher taxes, more crippling regulations, and fewer of the choices and opportunities that only liberty can provide. They want to take us away from all that has long made Nevada so unique. They would replace Nevada’s heritage of freedom and opportunity with the failed radicalism of California.”
That sounds like a sound plan.
Thomas Mitchell is a longtime Nevada newspaper columnist. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.