Sen. Heller covers economic ground at museum event
Senator Dean Heller opened “The Real Economy: An Inside Look at Nevada’s Economy” with a fast-paced overview of economic conditions in the Silver State.
Heller spoke before a panel discussion, hosted by Wells Fargo and USA Today at the Nevada Museum of Art’s Nightingale Sky Room.
Heller stressed the importance of Nevada in the national election. The state’s diversity makes it a “bellweather state” and the “bluest of the purple states,” he said.
The senator’s topics ranged widely.
He referred to Tesla as “the most exciting factory in the world;” and it’s location in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, which is “the largest industrial park in the world with the largest battery manufacturer.”
Of the Great Recession, he said “no other state was hit as hard. … The bottom fell out for many in this market.” Despite the hardships, “Nevada’s economic recovery has been better than any state,” he added.
Nevertheless, the middle class is getting smaller and smaller, he said, and wages are lagging far behind inflation rates.
Healthcare is also becoming harder to access. “The only place to get health care is in the emergency room,” he said. And the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare” only ensures that “all Americans get the same bad healthcare.”
Heller stressed the need to update decades-old tax policies that are driving businesses overseas.
“The owner of a local medical device company right here in Reno told me his company pays $10 million more per year in taxes by staying in northern Nevada rather than moving outside the country,” Heller said, noting the employer stayed for the sake of his employees.
“I wish more companies were as loyal to their employees as he is,” he said.
He also touted approval of a five-year transportation plan that provides $1.9 billion to Nevada over that term, including funding for Interstate 11 to connect northern and southern Nevada.
Heller concluded with an overview of his efforts to work across party lines.
“To often we, as elected officials, are measured by their differences. I’ve made an effort to cut through the noise and focus more on solutions. I’ve found willing partners on both sides of the aisle,” he said referring to collaboration to protect Lake Tahoe and work on tax reform.
“Don’t get me wrong. When I think the president’s right, I’ll support him. When I think the president’s wrong, I won’t. President Bush wasn’t always right, but he wasn’t always wrong. President Obama hasn’t always been right, but he hasn’t always been wrong. As leaders in Washington, if we understand this and we work together, we can move this country forward.”
Christal Park Keegan’s professional experience includes working as an attorney for the National Judicial College in Reno and for the Chapman Law Firm in Northern Nevada.