Carson mayoral candidates oppose business tax

A power outage that briefly interrupted Wednesday's speeches by Carson City mayoral candidates didn't stop two of them from throwing a few sparks at each other.

The four candidates, gathered for the second day in a row to speak to about 70 people at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Pinon Plaza, all said they oppose a statewide business tax and support a Carson City school bond.

But it was comments from Tom Tatro, a former supervisor, on incumbent Ray Masayko's record as mayor and Masayko's questioning of Tatro's ability to serve as a full-time mayor that got some energy flowing in the room.

"Will Rogers once said, 'Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there,'" Tatro said. "I'm not satisfied with the way things are going. I know we can do better."

Using a three-strikes-you're-out baseball analogy, Tatro pointed to three decisions Masayko has made in the past three years with which Tatro disagreed.

Tatro said when he was on the board of supervisors, the bypass was the state's number one priority in Northern Nevada. Now it's not, he said. He credited state Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, with convincing the state transportation board to re-evaluate its priority for the north between the bypass and the Interstate 580 project between Carson City and Reno.

Tatro pointed to last year's poor economy, dwindling available retail land and the mayor's consistent vote against the Costco project. He also pointed to the mayor voting on an unenforceable ordinance while Tatro was still a supervisor.

Tatro said his third strike was the city's funding several employee positions with funds that aren't ongoing.

"In some circles, three strikes you're out," Tatro said. "Sometimes you can build consensus or you can lead. Carson City needs leadership. The city manager doesn't need to provide that leadership, the mayor should.

"I understand exactly what it takes to be mayor. I don't believe the status quo is acceptable."

However, Masayko, retired general manager of Sierra Pacific Power Co., alluded to Tatro's full-time job when he talked of the time it takes to be mayor.

"My office doesn't sit on the corner of Carson and Musser streets, it goes with me wherever I go," Masayko said. "I love this job, and I take it seriously. I've shown and demonstrated my interests and desires to serve all the people of Carson City. This job takes my days and an awful lot of my evenings. You get me every day, full time."

Tatro is the fiscal manager for the Department of Motor Vehicles and has said he will have no problem juggling his job and the mayor's post.

"I'm neither rich nor eligible for retirement," he said Wednesday. "I know I can fulfill every one of the mayor's obligations."

On other issues, Masayko, Tatro and fellow candidates Neil Weaver and Tom Keeton showed more agreement than disagreement on most issues, including their opposition to the teacher's petition that would create a 4 percent tax on net business profits and dedicate the money to public schools.

"It would have a chilling effect on business," Masayko said. "Taxation by initiative petition is likely to be readily messed up. It mandates something that the Legislature could probably do more properly. I'm not against education, but it's a bad project."

Keeton called the effort by the teachers association a "power move."

"I'm against any single institution asking for a special tax to finance their income," Keeton said. "There are plenty of other ways to do it."

All four candidates also expressed their favor of the proposed Carson City School District bond to raise $18 million to renovate area schools.

"I work in aircraft maintenance. Maintenance is life," Weaver said. "If you don't maintain what you have, you don't live."

Weaver approached the chamber members saying he was a fellow businessman, not a politician.

"I don't know why I'm running for mayor. It's just something in me telling me to be involved," Weaver said. "It slowly dawned on me that you can stand outside and throw rocks at (city government), but you won't change it. Government needs a small business tack. If you want somebody to look you in the eye and tell you what you want to hear, I'm not your candidate."

Candidates continued discussions on the importance of the freeway, the economy and city finances.

The chamber will host a luncheon July 27 for Department 1 justice of the peace candidates Bill Kreider, Ron Weddell and incumbent Robey Willis.


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