By Scott Neuffer, The Nevada Appeal, March 21, 2023
Nevada’s new Republican governor, Joe Lombardo, made an appearance at Casino Fandango Monday to reassure Carson City Chamber of Commerce members he’s on the side of small business.
“Quite often we get lost in the state of Nevada — quite often in Southern Nevada — when we talk about big business, when we talk about the casino industry, and everyone says it’s the mother’s milk of our economy, and I’m here to tell you I disagree,” Lombardo told a sizeable audience inside Duke’s Steak House.
Formerly the sheriff of Clark County, Lombardo beat incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, in the 2022 general election. He told chamber members his experience in law enforcement taught him that small businesses keep cities functioning.
“And the quality of life of the people that live in the cities is based off small business, not the casino environment,” he said.
Lombardo said he doesn’t have a “Southern Nevada mindset.”
“But what’s important is I’m more of a friend of small business than I am of large business,” he said. “I support everything you’re trying to achieve. And how am I doing that?”
Lombardo then made a pledge on taxes:
“Part of my platform is based on no new taxes,” he said. “No new taxes, and I’m going to hold true to that. Because there’s no reason to do that — especially in the revenue stream that the Biden administration has provided to us, but it also incurs our inflation stream that we’re dealing with.”
In January, in his State of the State Speech, Lombardo proposed not only no new taxes, but a suspension of the state fuel tax for a year and more relief for businesses by lowering the rate of the modified business tax and raising the exemption for the commerce tax.
“A top priority of my administration will be to restore Nevada’s reputation as a pro-business, pro-development state,” the governor wrote in the prepared speech. “I think we can all agree Nevada should be the most entrepreneurial-friendly state in the nation.”
The speech was delivered before the current legislative session began. The governor faces a Democrat majority in the Nevada Assembly and Senate.
Monday, Lombardo pointed to a recent executive order restricting the formation of new regulations and directing state agencies to review existing regulations.
“As part of its report, every executive branch department, agency, board and commission shall provide a list of not less than 10 regulations recommended for removal, ranking them in descending order of priority,” reads the Jan. 12 executive order.
Lombardo said his office will process the results of the review later in the summer.
“Unfortunately, everything in the state of Nevada has to be regulated by the Legislature, so I don’t have the executive privilege of saying I don’t like this regulation, this regulation,” he said.
But any regulation deemed detrimental to small business will be presented for removal in the next legislative session, Lombardo said.
“Does that sound fair?” he asked.
Lombardo said the chamber has a direct line of communication with his office, and he encouraged members to reach out about any detrimental regulation.
“Make me aware of it,” he said. “And rely on your chamber to do that for you.”
Toward the end of the governor’s visit, Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong asked Lombardo how he was enjoying the snow in Carson City.
“I actually love the snow because I haven’t seen it in 25 years,” Lombardo replied.
He then added, “But it’s time for it to stop.”