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Kelvin Atkinson on the Issues

Please visit www.nevadablueprint.com there you will find the issues that I along with my caucus are fighting for in the Nevada State Senate.

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. 

·       Nevada Senate Democrats Blueprint to a better Nevada.

The following is our Blueprint for Nevada – an agenda outlining our principles and legislative goals that will help every Nevadan reach their own American Dream – from childhood to retirement.

Early Education: Pre-K through 12th Grade:

o   We believe every Nevada child deserves an equal opportunity to succeed so they can compete for the good-paying jobs of the future. To give our kids a fair shot, we must invest in our schools and come together as a community to ensure accountability. Once in our schools, students must be challenged by highly qualified teachers and a rigorous curriculum that helps them achieve their very best.

o   Our Nevada Blueprint Will:

§  Build new schools and hire more qualified teachers to relieve overcrowding and reduce class sizes

§  Continue fighting for universal full-day kindergarten and funding for pre-Kindergarten

§  Prepare our students for high-tech jobs by providing well-funded Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education programs

§  Expand English Language Learner (ELL) programs to give all children a fair shot at the American Dream

§  Ensure our teaches have the resources and tools necessary to provide a good education by funding professional development programs


·       Higher Education:

o   College graduates on average will earn $1 million more in their lifetimes than an adult with only a high school diploma. That’s why we believe higher education should be affordable and accessible to every Nevadan. After all, we cannot expect to attract new businesses if we do not have an educated workforce from which they can hire. Unfortunately, it has become harder for working families to send their kids to college, while graduates are saddled with increasing debt. Legislative Democrats will work to help graduates pay off their college loans and make college more affordable for middle class families.

o   Our Nevada Blueprint Will

§  Enhance our current higher education system by properly funding the development of a Medical School at UNLV and establishing a Tier 1 research university in Nevada

§  Provide Community College Workforce Grants

§  Make college more affordable for middle class families by reducing student debt, providing tax breaks for education expenses, expanding scholarships programs, and making it easier to save for college (FROM POLL).

§  Provide apprenticeships for vocational training


  Economic Opportunity: Protecting your Pocketbook:

o   Nevada’s economy has begun to recover from the Great Recession. While this is good news, we also know that not every Nevadan’s personal economy has recovered. In Nevada, the cost of living is increasing, but wages are staying the same. That does not add up. We believe its past time that we reward hard work with fair wages. We must ensure that our jobs pay enough for workers to support their families, and that we keep talented Nevadans right here in the Silver State.

o   Our Nevada Blueprint Will:

§  Raise the minimum wage in Nevada

§  Reward hard work with fair pay by requiring that women earn equal pay for doing the same work as men

§  Help local business startups get off the ground

§  Make childcare more affordable

§  Support an earned sick leave program that will allow workers to take time off when they or a close family member gets sick without being docked a day’s wages or fearing for their job

§  Ensure Nevada’s veterans and military families get a fair shot at economic success

§  ENACT A SALES TAX HOLIDAY FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES: In the weeks leading up to the new school year, Nevadans should be exempt from paying a sales tax on back to school clothes and school supplies, including computers and new technology for our students.

§  LOWER CAR REGISTRATION FEES: To make up for the lack of revenue we receive from big business, Nevadans are forced to pay exorbitant fees to register and re-register their cars. By making sure corporations are paying their fair share, we could lower these high registration fees and help everyday Nevadans save more money.


·       Security for Seniors:

o   Nevada’s seniors have worked hard their entire lives and deserve to retire with dignity and respect. Our seniors should not have to go broke to receive the help and care they deserve. Legislative Democrats are ready to fight for our seniors. 

o   Our Nevada Blueprint Will:

§  Build public and private partnerships to help ensure seniors can receive the care they need, while remaining independent and able to stay in their homes as long as they want to

§  Protect retirement savings and pensions, for which our seniors have worked hard

§  Provide education and training to health care professionals in screening, diagnosis, and treatment of behavioral and cognitive diseases prevalent in older adults

§  Amend Nevada’s Medicaid State Plan to include a non-medical transportation waiver

§  Support higher education programs for our seniors


·       Protecting Your Rights: 

o   In addition to fighting to improve our education system and create more economic opportunities, Legislative Democrats believe we must also work to protect the constitutional rights of all Nevadans. The right to vote is one of the pillars of a free democracy, and that’s why we will stand against attempts to put obstacles between voters and the ballot box -- obstacles that would make it harder for seniors and military families to vote. In addition to opposing any efforts that will make voting harder for Nevadans, we will also introduce legislation aimed at encouraging voter participation.

Moreover, the right to one’s day in court is fundamental. That is why we will vehemently oppose legislation that limits Nevadans’ full recovery for wrongs committed against them.

o   Our Nevada Blueprint Will:

§  Fight to ensure that voting is free, fair and accessible for all eligibly voters in Nevada.

§  Encourage voter participation by providing for same day voter registration, implementing Election Day vote centers, and automating the DMVs voter registration system

§  Protect every Nevadan’s right to their day in court



We will not mince terms. Nevada needs a new revenue structure. If we want our state to be competitive in the 21st Century, we must invest in the critical needs that will help our economy grow.

Legislative Democrats believe in a state with a strong and secure middle class that are not asked to carry the tax burden while large corporations don’t pay their fair share. We can do this while continuing to foster an environment that helps businesses succeed. While there were many revenue proposals on the table, Legislative Democrats were committed to ensuring that any new revenue plan we considered included a comprehensive solution that is fair, sustainable and stable for the long term  -- not a short term band aid. 

Our Nevada Blueprint Will:

·       CLOSE THE BIG BUSINESS PROPERTY TAX LOOPHOLE: Currently, most Nevadans pay more in property tax than some of the largest corporations in our state, including Donald Trump. That is just not fair. Our Nevada Blueprint will close the loopholes that allow big corporations the ability to avoid paying property taxes like the rest of us {FROM THE POLL}.

·       LUXURY DISCRETIONARY SPENDING TAX: Legislative Democrats will work to close the tax loopholes on luxury spending to meet the needs of today. Since this tax was created in 2003, various venues have avoided paying their fair share through complicated loopholes. It’s time that this tax is adjusted to how the founders of the bill originally intended. By closing these loopholes, we will ensure that people who can afford to make luxury purchases like $5,000 bottles at nightclubs or $800 multi-day music festival tickets pay their fair share.

·       SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH PROGRAM that will focus on keeping fees consistent and low.

Governor Sandoval’s proposal was a welcome starting point for the conversation about a new revenue structure for Nevada. We agreed with the Governor that we must hold our largest and most stable corporations accountable for doing business in our State.

Legislative Democrats are particularly concerned about the impact of new revenue on small businesses, which are the backbone of our state. To create an environment in which our small businesses can prosper, we must minimize the obstacles to starting a new business or growing an existing one.  One way to do this is by exempting small businesses, especially brand new ones, from increased taxes or fees. Doubling fees for a small business will lead to fewer people creating businesses and fewer good-paying jobs.  That’s why we will work to enforce a “Small Business Growth Program” that will focus on keeping fees consistent and low.


As Legislative Democrats continue to evaluate were we are as a state and review different revenue proposals, we will continually look for ways to ensure big corporations pay their fair share, so that the burden is not placed on middle class families and small businesses.





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