Tired of playing defense in the new Republican-controlled Legislature, Democrats unveiled a “Nevada Blueprint” on Monday that prioritizes raising the minimum wage, making childcare more affordable and closing tax loopholes that favor big businesses.
“We’ve heard a lot about the New Nevada, one that’s supposed to prepare us for the 21st century,” said Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford, referring to the proposed budget of Gov. Brian Sandoval. “But so far legislative Republicans have only tried to take us back — back by weeks, months, years and even decades.”
The Democrats couldn’t say if the cost of their plan outlined in an eight-page document would be higher than the $7.3 billion in revenue included in Sandoval’s budget. The Democrats also didn’t offer specifics about how their tax plan would differ from the one proposed by Sandoval.
“The number will come. We’ll have hearings,” Ford said.
Asked if their proposal to give people a discount on their vehicle registration fees would hamper the highway fund, the Democratic leaders said highway projects must still be funded.
Asked how their plan to restructure the state business license fee would differ from one by the governor, the Democrats said they want to see Sandoval’s proposal and make sure it doesn’t harm the middle class and small businesses.
Democrats had long controlled the Legislature before Republicans won majorities in both houses in November. They say they’re frustrated with the Republican-sponsored bills they’ve reviewed during the first five weeks of the 120-day session, including one discussed Monday that would make it harder for people to recoup unpaid wages through state minimum wage laws.
Democrats face a tough road ahead because Republican committee chairs have the prerogative to let the “Nevada Blueprint” proposals live or die.
“If the Republicans don’t want to hear our bills, they’ll have to go back and explain to their constituents,” said Assembly Minority Floor Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas. “It’s high time to hold them accountable.”