Assembly District 40 candidates face off |

Assembly District 40 candidates face off

Disagree on tax issues

The two candidates for Assembly District 40 faced off Friday at the League of Women Voters’ candidate forums and, not surprisingly, the major disagreement was over the issue of taxes and funding.

Republican P.K. O’Neill, who served in the 2015 session before being voted out for supporting a tax hike for education, said he disagreed that Nevada suffered a budget shortfall.

“We need to get our economy back,” he said. “We do not need to raise any taxes. We were doing fine,” he said until the pandemic hit.

Democrat Sena Loyd disagreed saying Nevada needs to look down “all possible revenue streams.”

“ Shutting down the potential of new taxes just because the word tax is in it is a disservice to Nevadans,” she said.

Loyd said the key to improving Nevada’s public education system is expanding broadband to all students. She said as the daughter of a physical education teacher, she knows the state’s system isn’t the best, but that the state needs to look at innovative ways to improve education.

O’Neill agreed saying just throwing more money at K-12 education isn’t the answer.

Loyd also argued that Nevada’s legislature should take a good look at the deductions the mining industry gets, especially when the state suffers an economic downturn, and “tweak” the mining tax to adjust them.

But O’Neill said the mining tax structure is just fine the way it is.

“Stay away from it,” he said. “It’s worked for our state. There is no need to change the mining tax.

“Our economy, as I stated before, was doing well on the first of March. Then the government shut down,” he said.

Loyd said she isn’t proposing a constitutional change to the mining tax but a change in the definition of the deductions mines get.

The two agreed with keeping the extended Medicaid benefits. As a member of the Carson Tahoe Hospital Board, O’Neill said the hospital makes only about 8 percent on Medicaid for every dollar spent He said that’s not sustainable.

Both also said more needs to be put into mental health support such as the Mobile Outreach Safety Teams that respond to incidents of mental health crises.

Loyd said the right to peacefully protest must be protected. But she agreed violent protests cannot be acceptable.

O’Neill said that, after a 40 year law enforcement career, he believes that, in Nevada at least, training standards and controls on law enforcement are already in place

And both rejected the idea of for-profit prisons in Nevada. As O’Neill put it, “It’s been tried and failed.”

What the full forum below:

To learn more about the Assembly District 40 candidates, go to