Quotes on Gov. Kenny Guinn’s “state of the state” address

Tue, Jan 21, 2003 (4:48 a.m.)

Quotes from legislators, educators, advocates and others on Gov. Kenny Guinn's "state of the state" address, his call for $1 billion in new taxes to support government programs, and warning against "political cowardice."

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Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, on tone of Guinn's speech:

"I thought it was threatening more to Republicans who wanted more cuts than it was to Democrats. Most of the proposals were proposals that Democrats have supported for a long time."

"He does sound more like a Democrat than a Republican. But I'll tell you, the Democrats aren't going to rush to support his package unless he can bring the Republicans to the table."

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Sen. Ann O'Connell, R-Las Vegas, on the $300 per-employee business tax:

"How in the world do you try to get more people to hire people at a cost of $300 each? That's a pretty big deterrent to expanding the workforce."

"I don't look at it as cowardice on doing what I think is best for my constituents.

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Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, longtime advocate of higher taxes on casinos:

"He has indicated that he is not willing to tax gaming to the amount that is necessary. ... Gaming should pay more because they cause more problems."

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Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas:

"The average family under these tax proposals is going to have to cough up $1,500 to $2,000. And they may object."

"Political cowardice comes in many shapes and tones. Another person may suggest that taking a look at the landscape, with a flat economy, that raising citizens' taxes 30 to 35 percent is political cowardice."

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Assembly Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, on odds of Guinn's proposals emerging unscathed:

"It would be unlikely. How many "state of the state" addresses have we seen go through unscathed. So I doubt you'll see this go through without a change. How much change or what the changes will be, we don't know yet."

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Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas:

"He absolutely sounded more like a Democrat than a Republican. But I think it's time that Republicans also recognized that children are important and senior citizens are important and health care is important."

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Brian Greenspun, Las Vegas Sun editor and member of the governor's task force on tax policy that came up with many of Guinn's tax proposals:

"He understood exactly what we came to understand, and that is we are in bad, bad shape. There are only a few ways to get out of it, and the way we recommended and the way we heard back tonight is probably the fairest, the most stable and the least harmful to any individual in the state of Nevada."

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Jan Gilbert of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, which had advocated higher taxes to expand services, especially social services:

"The budget is really all that we had hoped for, in terms of programs, social services, bringing tobacco taxes up so we can change some of those statistics."

Too threatening? "I think he needs to be that way. He made it very clear how serious the problem is."

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Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, an opponent of higher taxes:

"No I didn't feel singled out."

"You know me. ... I want to look at the budget myself. I want to see where we can make some differences, some cuts. I want to prioritize and make sure we're making those right decisions before we talk about taxes."

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Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno:

"It's a tough message - times are tough. And the governor did indicate that the state's situation is fragile and so he called for some severe measures. And I think all of the programs he mentioned tonight are essential. Certainly higher education...education has to be a high priority."

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Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson:

"I don't think anyone's excited about new taxes. Those are going to be very, very difficult decisions as we try to move forward and shield the average taxpayer at the same time we hold business to their commitment, and maintain the small business-friendly climate we have in Nevada."

"I didn't see the tone as threatening as much as it had a sense of urgency. The governor laid out the state of our state as fragile, maybe even to the level of crisis."

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Jim Richardson, Nevada Faculty Alliance, on university funding:

"If we get the money that's in this budget - and that's an 'if' the way it's constructed - we can do a reasonable job of taking care of this enrollment growth we've had."

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Carole Vilardo, Nevada Taxpayers Association:

"The $300 on the business license tax is a huge hit to small business."

"When you know you have a soft economy right now, and you know the reason we're short is that business and individuals aren't contributing as much as they have previously to the tax base, how much can you increase (taxes) without exacerbating that and hitting that proverbial wall of diminishing returns?"

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Carlos Garcia, superintendent of the Clark County School District, on K-12 education funding:

"It's nice to have a governor who actually isn't just going to say he's going to be the education governor. So tonight he stood at the podium to walk the talk and say that he's following through on some of his past promises."

"Just changing the tax base in our state will be the biggest boost in terms of long-term effects on our educational system," Garcia said.

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Secretary of State Dean Heller, whose office would collect higher fees under Guinn's proposal:

"I think it's the best speech he's given ... I though it was forceful. He had a strong message. He has a vision of where he wants the state to go."

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