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Opinion: Sandoval: Balance budget on backs of taxpayers, spare industry

By ThisIsReno


By Phoebe Sweet

LAS VEGAS–Republican gubernatorial hopeful Brian Sandoval has proven that he’ll take the side of big business over Nevada taxpayers every time.

This week Sandoval came out against a common sense solution to help shore up our state’s budget hole–a fee on new mining claims that the mining industry itself brought to the table and that is supported by a bipartisan group of legislators. The fee will bring in $25 million at a time when every penny counts. [Reno Gazette-Journal, March 1, 2010]

Even Sandoval’s primary opponent, the beleaguered Gov. Jim Gibbons, was willing to put his conservative bona fides second to education and services for seniors. While the mining industry was offering to contribute its fair share to protect teacher jobs, health care for children and diapers for seniors, Sandoval was putting partisan politics ahead of Nevada’s future.

So what’s Sandoval’s alternative? A risky plan to mortgage our future to benefit big lenders.

Sandoval wants to lease state buildings to lenders and then lease them back with hefty interest. The plan was panned by the conservative Goldwater Institute in Arizona, where a similar lease buyback program cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Sandoval’s plan would put Nevada in a similar hole, indebted to creditors for decades. The Goldwater Institute called it “in essence… a tax increase.” [Las Vegas Sun, 02/26/10]

“The mining industry and even a governor who seldom puts the people ahead of politics realize that in these tough times some hard decisions are necessary. But that’s lost on Brian Sandoval,” said Phoebe Sweet, communications director for the Nevada State Democratic Party. “Opposing necessary, common-sense solutions might play well with a few ultra-conservatives. But the rest of Nevadans–including mining industry advocates–agree we must do what is necessary to preserve our schools and take care of the elderly and the neediest Nevadans.

“Brian Sandoval should be ashamed that he’s willing use a risky scheme to balance the budget on the backs of Nevada’s taxpayers–middle class families–for the sake of politics.”

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