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Why Are These Options Needed?
•Nevada has the worst budget shortfall in the nation at 54%. We cannot close this budget hole by cuts alone.
•We have already made more than a billion dollars in cuts over the past two years. While additional cuts this legislative session are necessary, we cannot cut funding for education and other essential services in half.
•We cannot accept the governor’s proposed level of cuts to K-12 education, which would decimate an already struggling public school system with teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and a jeopardized ability to attract and keep the very best teachers.
•We cannot accept the governor’s proposed level of cuts to our higher education system, which has been severely cut over the last two years.  Deep cuts could mean spikes in tuition that would put attending out of reach for many Nevada students, elimination of classes and whole programs, or even closing of entire campuses.
•Nevada already ranks at or near the bottom on all national rankings on education. Severe cuts will make those rankings even worse.
•Education is key to our state’s economic recovery and our ability to attract new industries and jobs to Nevada.
•The governor’s proposed budget creates a billion dollar hole in our budget for the next biennium. His budget takes money from voter approved funds to repair old schools.

Why These Options?

•This is real reform of our tax system—making it fairer and more stable, while producing badly needed revenue for education and other essential services.
•Our economy has changed dramatically, but our tax system has not changed to reflect those changes. We now have a service-based economy rather than a goods/manufacturing-based economy.
•We can no longer put band-aids on our failing tax system, where we are back every two years needing to make severe cuts to essential services.
•The transaction tax on services—at a very modest rate (1%)—will allow us to reduce the sales tax on goods.
•The margin tax enables us to phase out the modified business tax on payrolls; it exempts the first million dollars of revenue to help small businesses; it provides big businesses options for calculating the tax to best meet their needs, and it is easy to implement.
•The margin tax shifts our tax burden from middle class taxpayers and small businesses to big corporations, many of which are out-of-state, that are currently not paying their share.
Our Goals for Our State

•Protecting essential services such as education, public safety, and health care
•Improving accountability for how every tax dollar is spent
•Reforming the way our state operates to be more transparent, open and efficient
•Reforming our tax system to be fairer and more stable and to raise needed revenue for essential state services
•Reforming K-12 and higher education, our budget process, our public employee retirement system, and state spending on programs and personnel

Kelvin Atkinson on the Issues

There can be no doubt we are in very tough times right now—not only in Nevada but all across our nation. Our state, dependent on tourism, has been particularly hard hit as our economy depends on people having money to spend on travel and recreation.

But, while these challenges can seem overwhelming at times, I believe that by working together we can find real solutions to real problems. I believe strongly in getting input from as many people as possible, really listening to what people have to say and working across party lines to build consensus.

Below are some of the issues my constituents have told me are particularly important as I have walked door to door. If you would like to discuss these or if you have questions, please give me a call.

Job Creation – I firmly believe that to turn around our economy, we must get Nevadans back to work.

That is why this year, I spearheaded a jobs bill to create 8000 new Nevada jobs by funding road construction projects. Last session, I also supported incentives for renewable energy projects that create Nevada jobs.  

Because we also need to look at jobs for the future and economic diversification, I have also been chairing a special legislative committee looking at ways to help make Nevada a manufacturing, distribution and transportation hub for the Western United States. That committee is making recommendations to the 2011 Legislature.

I also know that a well-educated workforce is the key to diversified growth and Nevada’s economic recovery. That’s why education is such a priority for me, and why I am a strong advocate for improving career and technical education opportunities.

Education –My daughter, Haley, is going to high school for the first time next year. She is the light of my life and the reason I first decided to run for the Nevada Assembly. It is why I believe public service is so important—we must work together to ensure that not only my daughter, but all our children have a bright future.

I believe we must continue to protect education in these very difficult economic times and to make it a priority for the future. Our children’s future and our economic recovery depend on strong schools.

That is why I voted last year to restore millions of dollars in cuts to education proposed by Governor Gibbons.  I believe the most important priorities in education should be to recruit and keep the very best teachers in every classroom, to reduce class size, to empower school personnel to make decisions about what works best in their school and to improve school accountability. I am a strong advocate for career and technical education, as well as strong academic programs.

Foreclosures/Home Values – As a homeowner and father in the district, I know the value of a home can’t be measured in dollars and cents alone. I hear heart-wrenching stories from people worried about being able to make their mortgage or rent payment, particularly from those who have been laid off a job or had their hours cut. I hear concerns daily from people upside down on their mortgage because the value of their home has plummeted. Everyone in the area is affected when someone loses a home.  I understand that to stabilize our housing market and increase home values, we must continue to work to reduce the number of foreclosures.

It is critical that we closely monitor and improve upon efforts made over the past few years to stabilize our housing market.  Last session, I voted to help bring lenders and borrowers together to determine if something can be worked out to keep people in their homes. I also supported legislation to crack down on foreclosure scams and unscrupulous lenders, as well as to provide protections to renters in foreclosed homes.

Government Waste/Efficiency and Transparency
– Just as every family is having to make tough decisions about spending priorities, I believe government must cut costs and improve efficiency. I will continue to support legislation requiring state agencies to set long-term goals, more transparency in our budget process and better tracking of businesses that are not paying the taxes they owe.  

I also voted for a state revenue stabilization fund, a forced savings account for our state, to help us avoid deep budget cuts in the future.

Health Care – While most of the focus on health care has been at the federal level, in Nevada we have taken steps to improve patient care and to provide Nevadans more information to help them make wise health care decisions.

I have supported stronger patient protections, more inspections of health care facilities and the importation of prescription drugs from Canada to help seniors and families get more affordable medications.  We must continue to work to make it easier for Nevadans to find out information about the cost and quality of health care services.

Crime– I am committed to doing more to make our neighborhoods safer. I have supported stronger penalties for graffiti crimes and gangs, efforts to improve safety for kids walking to and from school, stronger laws on sex offenders and improved prosecution of abuse, neglect and exploitation of senior citizens.

Senior Issues - Raised by my grandparents, I know firsthand the struggles seniors face, challenges now made even harder by today’s economy.  I have worked to help lower the cost of prescription drugs, to protect patients from unscrupulous medical practices and to keep seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities safer.

Environment – I am a strong advocate for the development of clean, renewable energy, which creates jobs and benefits our environment.  Our state should be the national leader in the development of alternative energy.


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