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Nevada Democrats roll out economic development plans
by Associated Press
Feb 10, 2011 | 947 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CARSON CITY — Democratic legislative leaders Thursday rolled out economic development efforts that they called a bipartisan approach to create jobs and put Nevadans back to work at a time when joblessness is at a record high 14.5 percent.

Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly were joined by Heidi Gansert, chief of staff to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, at a news conference in Carson City, where they announced their initiatives.

Though hailed as bipartisan proposals, Republican legislative leaders were unaware of the measures, and Gansert wouldn’t say whether they would get the governor’s support.

“We agree that it’s important to get Nevada back to work,” she said.

Sandoval in his State of State speech proposed Silver State Works, a $10 million employment training program that would target former prisoners, veterans and people with disabilities. Money would come from the state general fund.

The governor has said he will not raise taxes or fees, and that could be a sticking point for any job creation measures that include a dedicated funding source.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said the Nevada Jobs First initiative would be heard in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee on Monday. It would give preference on state and local public works projects to contractors who hire Nevada workers, buy their supplies and license their vehicles in-state.

Legislators and the administration have identified job creation as a top priority.

“Every dollar spent generates $1.47 into the economy,” Oceguera said. “I think this is a critical part.”

Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee, said the bill would require at least 50 percent of workers be residents, and that 25 percent of materials be purchased in Nevada.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, has proposed a Creating Nevada Jobs Initiative, an effort that would be tied to a revenue source to fund bonding capacity for infrastructure projects. He said backers were still finalizing how the fund would be financed.

“For every 100 construction jobs created, 88 others are created in other areas,” Horsford said. His measure, he said, would go “hand in hand” with the Nevada First Initiative.

Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, said Republicans were not informed of the Democrats proposals.

When briefed by reporters, he said giving a preference to contractors who hire Nevada workers is a good idea.

He said Republicans are “looking forward to seeing their proposals,” as long as they don’t cost the state any money or raise taxes.

“It’s hard to tax one segment of our society to put another back to work,” he said.
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