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Opinion: Sandoval: Mortgage Nevada’s future to solve today’s problems



by Phoebe Sweet

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Brian Sandoval has released his plan to solve the state’s short-term budget problems: mortgage our future to benefit big lenders.

Sandoval’s plan to lease state buildings to lenders, then lease them back with hefty interest payments, was panned by liberals and conservatives alike [Las Vegas Sun, 02/26/10].

Le Templar of the conservative Goldwater Institute in Arizona – where a similar lease buyback program has been dubbed a colossal failure – called the plan “in essence… a tax increase, you just have to pay for it over time.”

The Arizona deal – which was even mocked by Jon Stewart’s Daily Show – netted $735 million, but will cost $1.1 billion in the end. Sandoval’s plan would put Nevada in a similar hole, indebted to creditors for decades for the day-to-day needs of today [Daily Show, 09/15/09].

“Brian Sandoval’s plan to mortgage our future sounds like a great deal for lenders,” said Phoebe Sweet, communications director for the Nevada State Democratic Party. “But it’s a terrible deal for Nevadans, who will be paying for the plan with their tax dollars for decades. This plan, like taking out a loan against your car title or putting groceries on your credit card – might seem like a quick fix today, but it’s not a long-term solution to Nevada’s budget problem.

“While creative solutions are sometimes necessary during tough times like these, mortgaging our future is not the answer.”

And as if Sandoval’s idea wasn’t bad enough on principle, it’s also based on faulty math. It’s based on a 2009 legislative report that erroneously claims the state pays for 95 percent of employee health insurance when it actually pays only 85 percent.

And the plan doesn’t even cover the entire deficit hole. “Sandoval appears to be $100 million short – and probably more,” says the Sun.

“Brian Sandoval’s plan to solve our state’s budget problems – besides pawing state buildings based on bad math – is to cut teacher salaries and take $110 million from the Clark County School District’s class-size reduction funds,” Sweet said. “Nevadans deserve better than Brian Sandoval, a man willing to play politics with our state’s future during a fiscal crisis.”

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