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Sen. Raggio criticizes “rigid stance” on taxes


By Andrew Doughman, Nevada News Bureau: Retiring Sen. Bill Raggio today criticized the governor’s “rigid stance” in holding fast to a promise not to raise taxes. While stopping short of saying he would support raising taxes, he did say that increases may be likely despite the governor’s pledges to the contrary.
“I think you have to be more flexible than just a rigid stance and, you know, say ‘we’re never going to do this or never going to do that,'” he said, speaking on Sam Shad’s Nevada Newsmakers. “I think as a governor, as a legislator, you have to do what is necessary to provide essential services.”
The state senator, who announced his retirement earlier this year effective Jan. 15, further said that it’s not an answer to shift responsibilities to local governments because cities and counties will have to fund these new duties somehow.
“You know, that money has to come from taxes so somebody is going to have to pay it whether it’s at the state level or the local government level,” he said.
As far as solutions go, Raggio proposed addressing collective bargaining agreements at local levels to bring local government employee salaries closer to state employee salaries. The governor yesterday proposed that state employees take a five percent salary reduction.
Raggio said he’d already heard from some legislators that this is a matter likely to be addressed this session.
The senator may be able to speak more freely about the upcoming legislative session since he won’t have a direct stake in crafting the budget. Raggio announced Jan. 5 his resignation from the Legislature, ending a 38-year career in the state Senate.
He cited his slowing mobility as a the primary reason for his retirement.
Since he was in the middle of his term, the Washoe County Commission will decide who to appoint as Raggio’s replacement. The appointee must live within Washoe Senate District 3 and be a registered Republican.
Raggio, however, has asked the commission to choose a replacement who shares his political views and will work with Democrats.
Reno mayor Bob Cashell, Washoe County Commissioner John Breternitz and Raggio’s one-time antagonist, Sharron Angle, have all said they will not seek Raggio’s seat.
Qualified people interested in having the commissioners consider them for the position need to submit letters of interest to the county manager by 5 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 14. The selection will be streamed here, starting at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18.
Whoever the appointee, he or she will report to the Legislature Feb. 7 for the first day of the 120-day session, and will start off, as any freshman legislator would, as a “back-bencher.”

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