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Assembly Majority Leader wants to eliminate Nevada revenue volatility, teacher tenure

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by Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera said today he believes the Legislature will have a great opportunity in 2011 to look at ways of broadening the state’s tax base to eliminate the volatility that has created Nevada’s boom and bust funding cycles.

Lawmakers have been working with Nevada business leaders, from mining to banking, and with labor groups, to find common ground on how to fix the state’s fiscal problems, Oceguera said in an interview Monday on the Nevada NewsMakers television program.

But finding revenue to fill an anticipated state budget gap won’t be the only issue on the agenda for lawmakers and the state’s business and labor leaders, he said. Expanding the state economy and bringing new business to Nevada are also issues lawmakers must address next year, Oceguera said.

Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, also said reforms to the state’s education system, including retaining the best teachers and eliminating teacher tenure, have to be on the agenda for discussion in the upcoming legislative session.

“We have to retain our best teachers, so I think eliminating teacher tenure would be high on the list,” he said.

Oceguera said the position of both of the state’s leading candidates for governor that they won’t raise taxes is the right approach to begin addressing the state budget shortfall, which state fiscal experts say will be as much as $3 billion. The figure is disputed by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, which says the shortfall is much lower.

“We need to look at where we can find efficiencies in government,” he said. “Once we finish that process, we’ll have to see if there is something left over that needs to be taken care of on the revenue side.”

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Audio clips:

Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera says eliminating teacher tenure has to be considered as Legislature looks at education reform:

092010Oceguera1 :08 on the list.”

Oceguera says Legislature in 2011 will have a chance to fix volatility in state tax structure:

092010Oceguera2 :16 the tax base.”

Oceguera says lawmakers working with business and labor to deal with state’s challenges:

092010Oceguera3 :33 education component, so.”

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