Newspaper column: Who has the better plan for Nevada’s economic future?

Laxalt and Sisolak (R-J pix)

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 He also blogs at

3 comments on “Newspaper column: Who has the better plan for Nevada’s economic future?

  1. Rincon says:

    As an outsider, I only have the most general of observations. Nevada is in pretty good fiscal health, so my tendency is to say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Perhaps neither candidate should monkey with it, but if you’re convinced that low taxes make for a citizens’ paradise, consider emulating the beautiful and semiprosperous state of Mississippi, where budget expenditures per person are far less than those of Nevada. Do that, and you just might end up being in the same class as them.

    According to Conservative thought, running huge deficits (low taxes compared to expenditures) should stimulate the economy enough to eventually goose revenues which would overcome the initial deficit. Well, our federal government has made tax revenues way, way smaller than expenditures for half a century or more. Can someone explain to me why these continuing deficits haven’t self-reversed? And don’t say increasing government spending. That would make tax cuts even greater relative to expenditures, which, according to Conservative theory, should create ever greater revenues.

  2. Anonymous says:


    Nevada’s own bastard, the guy who stole his last name,and was called, by the only private company to ever employ him as a “lawyer”, “a moron”. Never mind that the firm…”moved on” from this weasel, now, after his time as a “big, gov’ment, parasite” where he spent most of his waking time doing work that had nothing to do with Nevada, now we’re supposed to support him for governor?

    And “platitudes” a guy talking about “liberty” (and probably mom’s apple pie) is being specific? Geez.

    A bigger hack this state has not seen since Chicky Hecht wanted Nevada to get a nuclear suppository.

  3. HighflyinBrien says:

    I will be voting for Adam Laxalt. My only concern is his support of initiative three…which unites some of the strangest bedfellows I’ve ever seen. A peek beneath the covers shows that this is a battle between billionaire casino owners, high tech businesses, and the warmist crowd vs. NV Energy and a myriad of state and local interest groups. Supporting the initiative…Republican candidates Laxalt, Roberson, and Duncan…teamed with former Senator Harry Reid? On the against side Sisolak (D), Knecht (R), Titus (D), Goicoechea (R); along with groups as diverse as the Progressive Alliance of Nevada, AARP and the Nevada Cattlemens Association, Nevada Veteran’s Association and everything in between! No state has elected to deregulate in the last 20 years because of the unpredictability of supply, rolling brownouts and blackouts, and no guarantee of cheaper electric prices. In fact in most of the states who’ve went down this road…the cost per kwh has increased significantly which adversely impacts those who can least afford it.

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