Thoughts from the gubernatorial candidates’ debate

Victor Joecks

Rory Reid and Brian Sandoval had their second debate last Thursday. You can watch the whole thing here.

A few thoughts:

First, I was disappointed that neither candidate took the opportunity to accurately define Nevada’s budget situation as I had hoped someone would do. I’m not really surprised. Each candidate’s goal is to win the debate, not correct a false narrative. Still, it was disappointing, and if either candidate is serious about his repeated promises not to raise taxes, he needs to correct the false beliefs about the size of Nevada’s projected budget deficit.

Second, the first question of the debate was once again based on faulty information. The first question (6:45 mark) was: “Andrew Clinger, Republican Governor Jim Gibbons’ state budget director, said in order to balance the budget without raising taxes you’d have to eliminate all funding of state government except K-12 and higher education. That means eliminating health and human services, taxation, gaming enforcement, even the legislature and the Supreme Court. He says he doesn’t know how to balance Nevada’s budget without raising taxes. Both of you have said raising taxes isn’t necessary. Do you know something that the state budget director doesn’t know?”

The quote is based on testimony that Clinger gave at a hearing in August. The problem is that statement wasn’t true then and isn’t true now – according to Clinger’s numbers!

Also, Clinger has said that he is creating “a two-year budget of about $5 billion, about $1.5 billion less than the current two-year budget.”

Believers in limited government may not know more about the budgeting process than the state budget director, but we are aware of the numbers, not just the rhetoric, he’s using.

Third, NPRI’s tax study was mentioned at about the 24-minute mark. It’s good to see that the public is continuing to recognize the good work NPRI is producing. Sure this is shameless self-promotion, but it’s also a very good proposal.