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Sen. Heller downplays any rift with Gov. Sandoval on job creation efforts


By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., today downplayed the notion of any disagreement with GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval arising from their opposing views on the Small Business Jobs Act passed by Congress in 2010.

Heller voted against the measure, calling it a bank bailout bill, while Sandoval praised the measure last fall as a way to help create jobs in the state with the nation’s highest unemployment rate.

Heller, interviewed on the Nevada NewsMakers television program, said: “It was a bailout. It was another bank bailout. Two things I vote against when I’m in Washington, DC: tax increases, more stimulus, more bailout. I guess that’s three. I put stimulus and bailout in the same picture. But that’s what I vote against.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Sandoval, in announcing the receipt of $13.8 million from the act in September 2011 to lend to small businesses to spur job growth, said: “This funding will go a long ways towards helping new small businesses get off the ground and creating jobs for Nevadans.”

In the NewsMakers interview, Heller said the way to get Nevadans back to work is lower taxes, smaller government, reasonable regulations, free markets and capitalism.

“That is what is going to long term sustain growth in this state moving forward,” he said.

“The governor and I are not at odds,” Heller said. “Certainly both of us want to bring jobs into Nevada and both of us want to see the economy turn around. How do you do that is the question. And he’s doing it for all the right reasons. I don’t see us at a difference here. All I’m saying is there may be more than one route.”

Heller is running for a full term in the Senate, and is being challenged by Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. Heller was appointed to the Senate seat in May, 2011 by Sandoval.

Gov. Brian Sandoval. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Berkley voted for the measure.

Nevada received the $13.8 million through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). Nevada expects to generate a minimum of $10 in new private lending for every $1 in federal funding.

Heller’s comments came as the U.S. Department of the Treasury on Monday released a report showing that the Meadows Bank of Las Vegas has increased its small business lending by $45.9 million since receiving capital through the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF).

The SBLF is a separate program authorized by the same act.

Nationwide, institutions participating in the SBLF significantly increased small business lending in the last quarter of 2011 by $1.3 billion over the prior quarter – for a total of $4.8 billion over their baseline, the report showed.

“This report shows that the Small Business Lending Fund is having a powerful impact,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin in a news release issued today. “The program is helping spark new lending to local entrepreneurs looking to invest in their businesses and create new jobs.”

The SBLF helps small businesses by providing capital to community banks that hold under $10 billion in assets. The dividend rate a community bank pays on SBLF funding is reduced as that bank increases its small business lending, providing a strong incentive for new lending to small businesses so they can expand and create jobs.

Audio clips:

Sen. Dean Heller says the Small Business Jobs Act was a bank bailout:

041012Heller1 :14 I vote against.”

Heller says he and Gov. Sandoval are not at odds:

041012Heller2 :16 than one route.”

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