Election 2010: Assembly candidates debate; only one Senate candidate shows | NevadaAppeal.com

Election 2010: Assembly candidates debate; only one Senate candidate shows

Assembly District 40 candidates Robin Williamson and Pete Livermore answered questions for an audience of just less than 100 Wednesday with Republican Livermore taking a no new taxes stand while Democrat Williamson called for all-out efforts to create more jobs but leaving the door open to potential revenue increases.

But in the Capital Senatorial District race, only Democrat Kevin Ranft was there. Independent American candidate Cody Quirk was missing as was Republican Assemblyman James Settelmeyer.

Settelmeyer, however, sent the League of Women Voters an e-mail reminding them he had a schedule conflict because he is in Washington, D.C., as an ombudsman for the Small Business Administration’s annual Regulatory Fairness hearing.

All three opposed plans to close Nevada State Prison at this time. Ranft, a correctional officer, said if it is closed, it should be over time to protect jobs and safely move the inmates elsewhere.

“The prison director can’t seem to get his numbers straight,” Williamson said.

Livermore said he can’t support closing NSP until places are found for the 173 workers there.

Williamson said she was worried about the “tremendous shortfall we need to address” – projected at about half the state’s $6.5 billion General Fund budget. But she rejected the idea floated by Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, to reinstate a sales tax on food saying that is the most regressive form of tax. She said she would consider looking at a “small tax on services,” recommended by fiscal consultant Guy Hobbs of Las Vegas. And she said state chambers of commerce are talking about a broad-based business tax.

“The fastest way to get this economy going is to take the restraints off business,” Livermore said.

While he opposed raising the tax on mines, he said he wouldn’t be opposed to closing some of the loopholes mining uses to reduce what the state gets.

Ranft said a mining tax just isn’t a stable revenue because gold prices change dramatically. But he said that’s one possible avenue if people want to move in that direction.

He said Nevada has to look at how to fund essential services when the state is already “at the bottom of every good list and the top of every bad list” for those services. Ranft said, however, he would reinstate the tax hikes approved by the 2009 Legislature, which are to sunset at the end of this fiscal year, giving the state another two years to work out its tax system.

Both Williamson and Livermore expressed concern about the state shifting costs to cities and counties through unfunded mandates.

She said she supports requiring lawmakers to get local government permission before “sweeping” funds from them. Lawmakers took big chunks from local governments during the 2009 and special legislative sessions.

Livermore said he was less concerned the state would take local money than that it would push more services down to the local level.

Both Williamson and Livermore are currently members of the Carson Board of Supervisors. Livermore is termed out at the end of this year.