State treasurer Dan Schwartz outlines plans if elected governor in 2018
LVN Editor Emeritus
Nevada State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, who announced his candidacy for governor in September, made the rounds in central Nevada with appearances in both Fernley and Fallon on Tuesday.
Schwartz, a Republican who was elected treasurer in 2014, is running in a GOP field that includes Las Vegas businessman Jared Fisher and Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who visited Fallon in November.
In a two-hour stop in Fallon at the American Legion Hall, Schwartz discussed his background as a veteran and what he sees are important issues facing Nevada. The Illinois native, who attended public schools in a Chicago suburb, graduated from Princeton University with his undergraduate degree. He obtained a law degree from Boston University and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Columbia University in New York City.
Schwartz said veteran issues were important to him. After attending college, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and completed his training in field artillery. He was assigned to a unit in Germany for two years to protect Pershing missiles.
“I went (into the Army) because it was my duty,” he told members of Post 16, “and I still believe that.”
He added soldiers in his unit still remain close, and they had a reunion earlier this year in Las Vegas.
Schwartz said he would like to see better healthcare afforded to veterans, but he told Post 16 members that many of programs, including healthcare, are administered by the Veterans Administration, a federal not state agency. He vowed to work with both Sen. Dean Heller and Congressman Mark Amodei, who represents most of rural Nevada, to ensure veterans receive the help they need. If any of the issues involve the State of Nevada, Schwartz said he would help veterans and also would like to see a separation between critical care and what he called, “cuts and scrapes insurance.” He strongly feels the cost for noncritical care problems can be reduced. Schwartz said he is sympathetic to veterans who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and would like to see more doctors assisting them.
“It’s a federal issue, but I would see the state supports it,” he said.
Schwartz has an extensive background in finances and managing businesses. He told Legionnaires he was involved in managing businesses in both Great Britain and Hong Kong before relocating to Las Vegas. He later ran unsuccessfully for the newly formed Congressional District 4 office, losing in the primaries, but he succeeded in his run for state treasurer three years ago.
“We cured a lot ills we had 3 to 4 years ago,” Schwartz said of his office’s work.
During his tenure as treasurer, he said his staff has replaced high interest bonds with lower interest ones, saving the taxpayers upward to $24 million in interest. His office also administers both the college savings and startup plans. As a businessman with 40 years’ experience, he said he doesn’t like tax abatements given to businesses wanting to set up in Nevada.
“I want to bring in high paying job instead of offering state support,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz said he would improve the state’s infrastructure rather than build a football stadium in Las Vegas. Instead of traveling overseas to entice business, he would direct the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to open an office in San Francisco, for example, to entice firms moving from California to the Silver State.
“The cost of living is about one-third in Nevada compared to California,” he said. “We need for California to move more of their businesses here.”
Schwartz questions why wealthy businesses wanting to come to Nevada, however, seek millions of dollars in tax rebates. He said GOED essentially wiped out any sales tax that Apple had to pay when it came to Nevada.
“Apple is one of the wealthiest companies in the world,” he said.
Schwartz is focused in diversifying more of Nevada’s economy, but he added the growth is placing a strain on the area’s infrastructure and housing in the Reno-Sparks area, Storey and Lyon counties and to a lesser extent in Douglas County. He also sees Fernley and Fallon both growing again because of the expansion at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center midway between Sparks and Fernley. With expansion of the industrial center heading south toward Silver Springs and along U.S. Highway 50 near the airport, Schwartz said the state needs to “quit kicking the can down the road” and address water issues that could limit growth.
Schwartz visited Fallon earlier this year to tout the Educational Savings Account, which was later shot down during the legislative session. The ESA website said the account “provided school choice for parents of public school students, in lieu of a K- 12 public school, who chose to use a portion of a public-school student’s state per-pupil funding to customize an educational program to meet the specific educational needs of their child.”
Schwartz said there should be a rollback of the commerce tax that was passed almost three years ago by the Legislature. According to the Department of Taxation, “the tax is imposed on businesses with a Nevada gross revenue exceeding $4 million in the taxable year. All businesses are required to file a Commerce Tax return regardless of liability.” As governor, Schwartz said he wouldn’t sign an education bill unless it contained “a good ESA.”
“I opposed that big tax hike in 2015,” Schwartz said several times.