Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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MEMO FROM RENO:

Rory Reid draws fire for stance he hasn’t taken

Democrat Rory Reid has put out more policy positions than any other candidate in the governor’s race.

He’s got at least three glossy booklets — each about 25 pages long — describing his plans for the economy, ethics in government and education.

But he’s missing a position statement on the biggest issue looming for the next governor and Legislature in 2011: a critical shortage in tax revenue.

That absence has further fueled attacks from his opponents that he has a “secret plan to raise taxes.”

Reid’s education plan, for example, includes teacher bonuses, teaching scholarships and significantly upgraded technology. He maintains administrative savings, which have been achieved in other states following a plan similar to his, would pay for those initiatives.

Meanwhile, Republicans Brian Sandoval and Gov. Jim Gibbons have put forward budget-cutting proposals in reaction to the latest deficit. That has allowed Reid to maintain that they advocate cutting education, while avoiding putting forward his own ideas on how to save money.

“Brian has offered hundreds of millions in cuts,” Sandoval’s spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner said. “Rory Reid refuses to discuss cuts. He clearly plans to raise taxes. Brian’s plan for education, which will be released in the coming weeks, will not create a bigger hole in Nevada’s budget.”

Reid dismisses accusations that he plans to raise taxes.

“That’s what you say when you don’t have anything to say yourself,” Reid said last week. “Instead of proposing a plan, they are trying to confuse people about what it is I’m saying, or make people afraid of something when there’s no basis.”

Reid has said the recession is the wrong time to raise taxes.

As far as the budget is concerned, he said he will wait for recommendations expected from the Nevada Vision Stakeholders group created by the Legislature to address the long-term stability of the state’s tax structure.

“That is a process in which citizens are involved and we need to honor it,” Reid said. “They are going to be done before the election. I’ve said I am going to react to what they do. I might agree with it. I might criticize it. I might agree with parts of it and disagree with parts of it.

“But I’m going to react to it before the election.”

Sandoval’s turnaround

As Republicans running for statewide office tried to outdo one another last week with vehement responses to the passage of federal health care legislation, one prominent candidate’s response was noticeably subdued.

Gibbons vowed to sue the federal government. Former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon promised to invoke the 10th Amendment to protect Nevada’s state rights. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian filed a citizen initiative petition to nullify the new law in Nevada.

Sandoval, on the other hand, said: “We simply cannot afford it.”

That tune didn’t last long.

After the Las Vegas Sun published a story calling him out as the lone Republican in the governor’s race not calling for a lawsuit, Sandoval, a former federal judge, put out a new statement.

“After a thorough review of the bill and the legal foundation of this action, I absolutely support the state joining the suit against the federal government and would strongly urge the attorney general to move forward,” he wrote.

Lowden wrangles support in north

Prominent Northern Nevada Republicans will host an April 14 fundraiser for GOP Senate candidate Sue Lowden.

Lowden, as with many of her Southern Nevada primary opponents, is working for better name recognition and support in the north.

Among those signed on to the fundraiser: former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, longtime GOP donor T.J. Day, developers Perry Di Loreto and Norm Dianda, and former Gibbons staffer Mendy Elliott.

Also noticeable on the hosting committee is GOP national committeeman Bob List.

Anjeanette Damon is the Reno Gazette-Journal’s political reporter and writes the “Inside Nevada Politics” blog, which appears at rgj.com/inp.

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