Please indulge us as we ask you to re-elect Ron as Nevada Controller. If Ron wins, James also gets reappointed Deputy Controller.
Ron’s running on his record and qualifications. When we discuss below things we’ve done, it’s both of us, but also 39 other people in the office. We’re blessed with an outstanding team of professionals led by talented managers.
Nevada’s controller has back-office duties typical of state controllers, but also an unusual charge to promote: frugality and economy in state operations; better management of fiscal affairs; support of public credit; and better understanding of all these things.
Folks are probably aware of things we’ve done to serve the latter charge and promote openness, transparency and accountability. Likely they’re not as aware of the equally outstanding record on the less visible but equally important daily nuts-and-bolts ministerial functions
As with all public offices, the controller also must operate economically and effectively. So, the first thing we did was cut spending by 13.3 percent from the budget we inherited from Ron’s predecessor, as approved by the legislature and governor. In our first 18 months, we turned back over $1-million to the state treasury to fund other services and help keep down your taxes. All while improving services. The budgets we subsequently submitted have been well lower than the one we inherited.
We also inherited a troubled information technology (IT) project intended to improve the dismal record on collecting debts turned over to the controller by other state agencies. Many IT projects experience great cost and schedule overruns until the plug is pulled and they produce no usable results. We were determined ours would not be the next one.
We worked diligently with many of our staff, the attorney general, finance and other offices, and with the contractor to implement two contract amendments. Just over a year ago, the project came on line. We’re very proud that in its first year of operation, this project increased nearly $1.3-million, or 356 percent, instead of cratering like so many others.
Thus, we proved government spending can be cut while services, operations and revenues are enhanced.
When the governor and legislature planned to pass Nevada’s largest spending and tax increases ever, Ron led a group of legislators, government and non-government professionals, and citizens to craft the first ever alternative budget. It would have increased total spending very slightly – less than the rate of growth of Nevada’s economy – and not required any tax increases. It was given a clean bill of health by the legislative counsel and sailed through its committee hearing.
But the legislature and governor passed their tax and spend orgy, including the very pernicious, destructive and unnecessary Commerce Tax, which is similar to the margins tax voters defeated 79-21 in 2014. So, we worked with the same folks to craft a voter initiative to repeal it. We’ve made progress and had setbacks. However, we have a sound plan to get it on the ballot two years hence so voters have the last word.
Along the way, Ron published the first three Controller’s Annual Reports (CARs), which won prizes and praise from a national professional organization. In 24 pages of data, charts, graphs, tables and clear text, the CAR details trends and issues in Nevada fiscal and policy matters, the challenges, and some solutions from a public-interest perspective.
Ron is co-leading business process re-engineering for state agencies and development of an essential all-functions (accounting, payroll, administration, budget, etc.) enterprise resource planning and management IT system. It will fully integrate and modernize state business operations by 2022.
We have also recorded outstanding accounting and other operations successes too.
Finally, Ron has led efforts to bring badly needed openness, transparency and accountability to Nevada’s public employee retirement system. In addition, he has used his economic, financial and policy expertise to promote more reasonable assumptions in pension planning. The pension system is financially seriously in the hole, and without such reforms it well may become a disaster for taxpayers, state employees and retirees.
We’ve taken care of both high- and low-visibility issues the old fashioned way: by working hard; using sound management and professional practices; and working cooperatively with other agencies. So, we request your vote.