Many at Lincoln dinner agree with Heller: Stimulus won’t work
Dean Heller, featured speaker at the Carson City Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner, was unable to make the Friday night event because of the vote on the $787 billion stimulus package.
Heller opposed the measure that passed the House and Senate Friday, saying, “Just like the bailout, this legislation will prove to be a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.”
His sentiments were echoed by a number of officials at the dinner who agreed with Heller’s decision to stay in Washington and vote “no.”
About 130 Republican loyalists attended the dinner at the Carson Nugget.
Gov. Jim Gibbons said there are so many strings on Nevada’s $1.4 billion share of the package, the state might not be able to qualify for a large chunk of that money
“There is literally no flexibility in the bill,” he said.
Gibbons said those strings in many cases would require Nevada to restore funding reductions to agencies and programs before it could get any of the money.
“We just don’t have that kind of dollars,” he said.
He said he wanted a stimulus that created jobs in Nevada and allowed the state to determine what its needs are.
“Why doesn’t somebody in Washington realize we in Nevada know better how to spend the money in Nevada?”
Assemblyman James Settelmeyer of Gardnerville said he was surprised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid couldn’t get Nevada some flexibility in using the money.
“States know what their constituents need,” he said. “And there are so many add on, extra things in that bill.”
“We can’t spend our way to prosperity,” said Assemblyman Tom Grady of Yerington. “It’s one-shot money and it’s not going to solve our problems. And there’s too much pork in it.”
Sen. Mark Amodei of Carson City also doubted the stimulus would do much for the economy. He said the bailout didn’t generate much confidence and the Dow dropped 350 points the day the stimulus was first approved.
Republican State Party Chairman Sue Lowden of Las Vegas, a former state senator, said she is most worried about what the price tag will do to the nation’s future.
“It’s daunting to think what’s going to happen to the future of this country with the debt that’s being piled on to our children and grandchildren,” she said.
Former State Sen. Joe Heck of Las Vegas said the package contains “too many things that aren’t going to stimulate the economy.” He said the claim it will create 3.5 million jobs is unprovable.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.