RENO — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said Saturday President Barack Obama and Congress should learn from him and other Republican governors who have put aside partisanship to work with Democratic lawmakers to grow their economies through spending cuts and business tax exemptions.
“Like Washington, Nevada has a politically divided government, but that hasn’t stopped our efforts to grow Nevada’s economy,” Sandoval said in the GOP’s response to Obama’s weekly radio address.
The former state attorney general and federal judge said no state had been hit harder by the nation’s economic recession than Nevada when he first was elected in 2010.
“At our peak, Nevada’s unemployment rate was almost 15 percent, and we led the nation in foreclosures and bankruptcies,” he said. “Jobs disappeared almost overnight, leaving behind steel skeletons of half-built buildings to memorialize the day the economy froze and the work stopped.”
In the face of a potential $3 billion state budget deficit, Sandoval said he and the Democratic-controlled Legislature worked to reduce spending by $500 million, eliminate about 600 state positions and merged or eliminated more than a dozen state agencies.
“Unlike Washington, we had to balance our state budget as Nevada could not borrow its way out of problems,” Sandoval said.
“And despite having a politically divided government, in the last two years, Nevada has been able to accomplish much. We have strengthened employment, our economy, and education in our state — in large part because we sit down, put partisanship aside, talk through our disagreements, and find common ground,” he said.
Sandoval said state economies respond positively when the size of government is reduced, budgets are balanced and taxes are kept as low as possible.
Chief executives must expect opposition when making difficult decisions, he added.
“But executives must engage those that disagree with them,” he said. “They must listen to all ideas, persuade when possible, and respectfully and firmly disagree when necessary.”
“Can you just imagine what our economy would look like today if Washington would just take that approach?”