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January 29, 2015

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Brian Sandoval all talk and no facts for now

Governor-elect displays winning style, but is that what Nevada needs to get out of hole it’s been in for a while?


Leila Navidi

Governor-elect Brian Sandoval speaks during a press conference at Jones Vargas law firm in Las Vegas Wednesday, December 29, 2010.

Brian Sandoval News Conference

Governor-elect Brian Sandoval speaks during a press conference at Jones Vargas law firm in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval showed some of the political skills that helped him get elected during a wide-ranging news conference Wednesday in Las Vegas. Suit and hair, as always, fantastic. His manner warm and approachable. He talked much, but revealed almost nothing.

Nevadans will probably come to appreciate the differences between Sandoval and his outgoing predecessor, Gov. Jim Gibbons, who at times has seemed to resent the job and even the citizens he was charged with governing.

Sandoval played the part, instead, of chief cheerleader and salesman.

“The most important message to send,” Sandoval said, “is that Nevada is open for business,” a slogan, if adopted, we would share with the Missoula, Mont., airport.

Sandoval, who, like Gibbons, is a Republican, said he has a list of companies in his briefcase. He’s calling executives to woo them here from the high taxes and onerous regulations of California and Oregon.

Again, Nevadans will probably find this a welcome change from Gibbons, whose idea of getting business here was to propose a coal gasification plant even though Nevada has no coal.

The problem for Sandoval, however, is that it’s not clear he has much to sell. He may look like the tough-guy Alec Baldwin character in the classic tale of salesmen and sadness, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” but the reality is that he may be stuck in the pathetic Jack Lemmon character in that film: “The leads are weak.”

With wages cut all across the valley and unemployment above 14 percent — closer to 20 percent if you add part-time workers or those who have quit looking — businesses here don’t have much of a customer base.

Nevada has plenty of unskilled labor, but companies that require some college of their workers might hesitate. The Silver State has never been a bastion of education. Sandoval’s refusal to raise taxes — he’ll even veto the tax increases that passed in 2009 but are set to sunset unless the Legislature tries to revive them — will mean more cuts.

The state is 46th nationwide in higher education funding per capita; 45th in residents with a bachelor’s degree; and 41st in the number of 18- to 24-year-olds who enroll in state universities.

Nonsense, Sandoval said Wednesday.

“I think this is a great state to come to,” he said. “I think if I’m a CEO from a company, I see a governor and a state that recognizes that we must do better, that there’s a lot of momentum to systemically improve the way we deliver education in this state, that the universities understand they have to do better.”

Sandoval said he plans to expand school choice, charter schools and merit pay. There’s no relationship between money spent and education delivered, he said.

Furthermore, he said, our unemployment rate means we have lots of willing workers, and our high foreclosure rate translates into cheap housing.

“I think these CEOs will want to come here. There will be a favorable business atmosphere,” he said.

(The venue for the news conference, the law firm Jones Vargas, illustrated the pro-business attitude. The firm, where Sandoval has been an attorney since leaving the federal bench in 2009, represents the state’s most powerful business interests in gaming, utilities, banking, health care and insurance. See related story.)

Sandoval’s optimism raises the questions: If Nevada is so great for business, why is our economy so moribund? What went wrong?

Complex questions, he averred, and laid the blame on the depression in the construction industry, which is employing half as many Las Vegans as it was at the peak.

Unemployed construction workers must be retrained for the new businesses that will be coming here, he said.

Who will do the retraining? And who will pay for it? He did not say.

The important message relayed is that Sandoval is bullish on Nevada: “If Nevada is a stock, I’d buy now, because we’re going up.”

Nevadans surely hope he’s right, that we’re Apple with the return of Steve Jobs, and not Enron on the way down.

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  1. Guess no one ask him about Nevada suing the Obama Administration over health-care at the same time asking for subsidies under the bill. Not to mention that Sandoval gets taxpayer provided medical insurance as he attempts to take away health-care insurance from children with preexisting conditions.

    How has the "low tax" strategy worked for Nevada? In fact, countries and states that have higher taxes tend to be more prosperous than those with lower taxes.

    There is a higher percentage of liquid asset millionaires in moderate to high tax states (like Connecticut, Maryland, etc.) than "low tax" states.

    Schwarzenegger tried to use style and star power over substance and flopped, and he was not afraid to get government involved with initiatives like "green energy." Plus Arnold had more style and star power than Sandoval. I don't think Sandoval will be a guest on Leno, for example.

    The guy is an empty suit. The only jobs he'll create are for those who clean the carpet in the Governor's Mansion after his 4 dogs do their business.

  2. It's a great idea to attract new business to the State and it always should have been. However that isn't going to solve today's state of Nevada financial problems. The solution is as follows:

    Accounting 101 will tell the Governor elect that the State doesn't have enough income! Spending has been cut substantially and that has not been sufficient to cover the loss of income as a result of the recession. WAKE UP and stop being a politician and act like a leader and do what is necessary to correct the deficit. Raise the Sales Tax and increase the taxes on the "hands off" mining/casino industries in order to generate the cash flow necessary to fund the States expenses. It will not hurt business it will help keep the States economy alive.
    Would a 2 to 3% temporary sales tax increase stop big ticket retail sales? NO! A bankrupt State will however.

  3. Enron was destroyed from within by no income and fancy accounting. Sounds familiar. How about a car metaphor: Nevada used to be a suped up high performance car that has had a negligent owner for the past 8 years. He put regular fuel in a high octane engine and the tires are flat and running on the rims. Cheap just gets you higher bills in the end.

  4. The guy is a lawyer. Lawyers have a tendency to substitute argument for proof. Right now, he is just getting into the case, so give the guy some time to see what the facts are.

  5. He is only the Governor elect this morning and not the governor. The yardstick described in the article above, while appropriate for a governor, may not be appropriate for a governor elect.

    Wait until Tuesday before deciding what is what.

  6. Like other astute politicians, Mr. Sandoval has learned that it is prudent to reveal very little to the liberal government media. GOOD FOR HIM! We know how the government media twists everything around on conservatives. Look at what they did to conservative candidates in the elections. It was despicable! This partisan bias by the govt. media is what has made them irrelevant today. And it's why FOX NEWS leads the nation in viewership.

  7. mred: There's nothing wrong with Nevada (and most of the other states) opposing Obamacare and trying to stop it while, at the same time, positioning themselves appropriately for benefits if the opposition fails. And what's wrong with any governor getting health care insurance from his employer (the People) like laymen get from their employers? Your second paragraph is just BS. Look at Michigan, California, New York, etc. Your liberal mindset is a bit unbalanced. And your last paragraph illustrates your liberal idiocy.

  8. Mr Sandoval was all talk and no facts when he ran for office and the voters of this state elected him.

    Now we must give him a chance to fix things. I am hoping we receive more from him after Monday then we did when he ran for office.

    Lower government should get prepared. I stated before and will stand behind my statement that he will make cities/counties provide services that have been provided by the state in the past while he raids the bank accounts of those same cities/counties.

    No new taxes means you stop providing services.

  9. Coolican...put this tripe on the opinion page...Mr. Sun, you truly have no shame...

  10. I am so glad to finally read that FOX NEWS is unbiased. Also I didn't know there was a government media and that it apparently had a major impact on conservatives in the election.

    The task at hand is to fix the budget deficit and so far the Governor elect does not have a plan with the exception of absolutely not increasing the dollars necessary to fund the States government. The budget will NEVER be balanced by only cutting more services, education and most importantly by shifting more of the financial burden upon the cities and counties. Thats not liberal statement that's a fact!

  11. Nevada's suit by a Law Firm (donated to Sandoval?) is like a person suing a restaurant for food poisoning eating at that restaurant for lunch during the trial. If the law is unconstitutional, then Nevada is engaging in an unconstitutional activity. Typical Republican hypocrisy.

    The media is letting us down, I never heard the details of Gibbon's accident (who, what, where about the ranch and the horse) now we are getting fluff about the 4 dogs and 2 cats, and not questions about the health care lawsuit.

    Your hero was the AG that overturned the State Constitution to raise taxes. That brings up another point, what make Sandoval think that school funding, or funding for other programs won't end up in the courts again anyway? (like funding for prison health care) or taking funds from local governments.

  12. It's clear Sandoval will suffer the same fate as Gibbons.

    Gibbons submitted budgets which were roundly laughed at and thrown into the recycle bin. The Legislature will determine what will be done.

    Sandoval's a figurehead, not a leader.

  13. From what I see the Republican U.S. House will attempt to allow states to declare bankruptcy. This will allow them to walk away from their Pensions. Retired and Current - Problem solved.
    No money for Education, Infastructure, Health Care, Pensions, Social Security, Medicare, etc.... Just as long as their Wall Street, Oil Company and Bank constituancies do well.

  14. Yup, no one's talking about letting states declare bankruptcy.

    Except right-wing magazines like the Weekly Standard.

    Oh, and Grover Norquist.

    And Reuters.

    And the National Review.

    I guess you don't read too much, huh James?

  15. He's not even officially the governor. How can you criticize him until he actually starts doing something! You people are morons.

  16. "How can you criticize him until he actually starts doing something!"

    He's making staffing decisions, GIVING NEWS CONFERENCES (in case you didn't bother to read the article), and preparing a state budget.

    Reading dave's invective, one might be left with the false impression that Brian Sandoval's been lounging around in his pajamas since the election.

  17. To mred: The law suit against Obamacare doesn't claim that the whole law is unconstitutional. It's about the mandate which requires everyone to by insurance under penalty of law. Furthermore, it is prudent for states to position themselves appropriately in case Obamacare is NOT OVERTURNED. This is easy to understand.