(Nancy Dallas) – John Hambrick is running for re-election to the Clark County District 2 Assembly Seat. You can learn more about John’s background and political views at www.hambrick4assembly.com
Do you have a campaign team in place?
Do you intend to invest your own money in this campaign?
To what degree?
What are the most pressing issues facing your district?
I have a large population of retirees that have been hit very hard during this economic downturn. Their retirement savings and retirement annuities have been slashed. Senior abuse and home invasion crimes are of concern.
Do they differ from two years ago? Would you address them any differently than during your past two years as a State Legislator?
The big changes are a result of the economic downturn we faced starting in 2008. Our state budget hasn’t yet come to grips with the reductions in revenues, and we will have to face that very big issue in the next session. I plan to address state spending as the number one issue to be dealt with. With the reductions in income many Nevadans are facing, we cannot take more money from them in taxes and fees.
You have served one term as a State Assemblyman. What do you consider your greatest accomplishments?
AB380 was signed into law and addresses the problem of sexual exploitation of minors and has civil penalties of up to $500,000 for those involved in human trafficking. Also, I am proud of fighting the seemingly ever increasing spending that the Democrats in the Legislature have been pushing. Nevadans’ pocketbooks, both individual and business ones, are stretched to the breaking point. We need to rein in spending.
What are your strongest attributes as an elected official?
I started to work when I was 14 and haven’t stopped since. My work ethic is from the old school. Work hard and do it right the first time or until it is right.
Why do you believe you would do a better job than your Republican opponents?
I bring 30 years of experience in Federal law enforcement and nearly 40 years in community service. My voting record shows my ability to support conservative issues. I supported the Governor in his fight to stop the tax increases of the 2009 session. I also voted to sustain his vetoes. NPRI rated me the 4th most conservative legislator.
Do you support the importation of water from one governmental jurisdiction/water basin to another within the state of Nevada to sustain the impacts of growth? What long-term water sustainability efforts would you support for northern Nevada and the Las Vegas basin?
We need multiple approaches to this problem. First, we are already seeing a reduction in water use in the valley, possibly a result of the economic downturn. People are just using less water. Second, we don’t necessarily need to “panic” over this issue. Lake Mead isn’t going to run out of water in ten years as the doomsayers have predicted. We need to take a long look at our options and we most definitely need to take some of the politics out of it as we search for a sound solution that makes sense.
Nevada is one of five states without constitutional provisions, amendments or laws providing for home rule to municipalities or counties. A ‘summit’ was recently held by Nevada city and county officials to discuss ‘home rule’ – which, among other powers, could give local jurisdictions the power to tax without legislative approval and limit the ability of the Legislature to take local government tax revenue. What is your position in regards to ‘home rule’? Elaborate.
Most municipalities right now are hurting for revenues. North Las Vegas, for example, is laying off 204 city employees, and the Clark County Commission is having to decide that issue as well. So, they’re looking for ways to raise the revenues they see they need to have to fix their situations. They’re also upset that the Legislature took local funds as part of solving the current State budget problem. My concern with home rule is that we need to keep in mind that we cannot be raising taxes at this time, when so many people are hurting. Letting local governments have that authority at the same time we’re trying to rein in the state budget could be counterproductive to both the local and state governments.
As you are aware, there is a state law banning the State Legislature from passing unfunded mandates on to local governmental entities. However, it has been proven this is easily skirted. What is your position in regards to this placing of unfunded mandates on local governmental entities as a means of alleviating State budget woes?
Passing unfunded mandates onto local government is just another way of avoiding the real issue. We must live within our means. Forcing local government to provide social services and emergency care with no expectation of re-capturing the funds that were previously provided by state and Federal programs is wrong.
Define what you would consider to be ‘unfunded mandates’.
Portions of: Medicaid; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; Child Nutrition; Food Stamps; Social Services Block Grants; Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants; Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and Independent Living; Family Support Payments for Job Opportunities and Basic Skills; and Child Support Enforcement.
Any one of many federal legislations such as the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act that require programs to be sponsored by the governments of the states, without providing any funds for those programs.
The provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act that require nearly all American business owners to make their business premises available to disabled customers, without providing any funds for the cost of reconstruction or additional interior space.
The provisions in the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act that require nearly all American emergency rooms to accept and stabilize any patient regardless of the patient’s ability to pay, but do not provide adequate reimbursement for indigent patients .
What is your position in regards to the findings of the SAGE Commission? The 2009 legislature took no substantive action in regards to their recommendations. What was your stance on this issue? Would you support legislative re-funding of the SAGE Commission?
The SAGE commission made some great recommendations, but I’m not sure we need to keep it funded. The Legislature and the Governor need to take a look at what recommendations are worth implementing, do that, then see what the results are. If we need further study and more ideas, we can reconvene the commission at a later date.
What is your position in regards to the state spending $500,000 to fund an independent tax study of the State’s tax structure by an outside expert; and, appointment by the Interim Finance Committee (IFC) of a 15 member “Nevada Vision Stakeholders Group” to study how the state is preparing for its future in regards to funding for Commerce & Industry; Education; Health & Human Services; Public Safety; and, Infrastructure?
We always need to look at how we can do things better, but I need to wait until they bring their ideas to the table before I can comment more. If it’s just the same old, raise taxes and spend more, then we have wasted our tax dollars on the study. As for a state income tax, I don’t see that as a viable option. I don’t think the voters will approve the changes needed to the Constitution, and I don’t want to open that door to those who always want to spend more and raise more taxes.
Do you support the current Interim Finance Committee (IFC) process, or similar concept? If not, how should the State address interim financial issues?
The issue with the IFC is that the Legislature isn’t in session the whole time, yet changes on the state’s finances require some elected body to deal with the issues. For now, I think it works better than some of other possible solutions, which are 1. A full time legislature, 2. Calling a special session regularly, or 3. Letting the executive branch deal with the issue on its own. I’m not a fan of any of these options.
What is your position in regards to empowering local authorities to have greater control over educational decisions? Elaborate.
Our schools were so much better when the government was less involved. With the fifth largest school district in the country, education has taken a back seat to the political processes of budget, union contracts, and power. Parents find they can’t compete, or even have their voices heard, when they’re going up against the wishes of the unions or the lobbyists. Smaller districts have a history of putting the education voice where it should be, with the parents and local officials. For most of the 20th Century our kids learned to read, to do math and science as well as have many of the extracurricular activities our children love to participate in. All that changed when BIG government got involved. We need to look at ways to get education back into our schools.
Do you support Charter Schools?
To what degree should the state support Charter Schools and the students who attend them?
I believe the Charter Schools should have their own “school district”. This could be a state wide group of parents and professionals that have direct knowledge and experience in the Charter School concept.
What is your opinion in regards to Governor Gibbon’s Education Reform proposal?
The Governor offered several ideas that need to be discussed further, such as breaking up large school districts and have more local input at the individual school level.
Will you support an extension of the sun-set tax increases imposed by the 2009 State Legislature?
If not, how do you propose Nevada address its projected budget deficit for the next biennium?
The “system” is still too large. We need to reduce spending. That is the key. We need to look at the budget, line by line, office by office, to see if what we are asking the people to pay for is really necessary. Do we NEED to have some of the agencies we are currently funding? In these tough times, we need to ask: Is this agency really necessary to the welfare of our state as a whole?
Are there specific areas within Nevada’s governmental structure (departments) that you feel should be considered for reduction or elimination? Elaborate.
There are many small agencies that we need to look into. One of the big ways to deal with this issue is to look for other ways to get the same jobs done. Are we being as efficient as we can be? Is our technology up to current standards so our employees can be the most productive? Are there places we can look at outsourcing to reduce long term expenses? We need to ask these questions.
Specifically, what measures do you believe need to be taken to enable the broadening of Nevada’s tax base and alleviating Nevada’s economic disaster?
Controlling spending is still the key. You can raise all the taxes you want, but if you keep spending more and more, you never get out of the cycle of spend, raise taxes, and spend more. Eventually, this current economic crisis will end and revenues will once again increase. My goal is to make sure we don’t just fall back into the spending habits that got us into this fix in the first place.
You state you will fight for a budget that leaves a cushion. If actual revenues equal or exceed projections, that money could be put in the bank to cover the State when there are future “rainy days.” Isn’t there already a ‘rainy day’ fund? And, if revenues do come in over projections, are you saying that excess should not be rolled over into the next budget, but placed into the ‘rainy day’ fund? Even considering today’s budget cuts? In today’s economic climate, how would you accomplish this – being as every department is crying for additional revenue and fewer cuts? Are you speaking in support of annual ‘zero based’ budgeting for each department?
Everyone always wants or needs more. That has been the pattern of governments for decades. It needs to stop. At all levels, we’re finding out we just can’t pay for it anymore. It is becoming unsustainable. The budget needs to be a long term product. We don’t take that approach in Nevada, and that is why we have over $9 billion in unfunded long-term pension obligations. We have made promises for years that we currently have not planned to pay for when those “years” are upon us. We need to start addressing that now, or we will find ourselves in similar straits that California is currently dealing with. If we have excess revenues, we need to put that money toward funding those long-term obligations. That is the only way we can start working to avoid the crisis that’s out there that no one seems to want to talk about.
The Missouri Plan for electing judges will be presented to Nevada voters in 2010. What is your position on the election/appointment of judges?
I am not fond of having lawyers and judges seeking political contributions from those that may appear before them; however, I believe the people have a right to elect them as we do now.
Is there an issue you would like to expound upon that I did not address? Go for it…………
For years, we have spent and spent and people have been talking about it but doing nothing to stem the tide. Now we got hit in the face with a big shovel and are reeling from the blow. We can take three different tracks: 1. We can continue to spend and spend, raising more and more taxes until we take so much money Nevadans will say “Enough!”, 2. We can solve the short-term problems until this crisis is over, then go back to the way we were, only to find ourselves in the same mess the next time the economy takes a downturn, or 3. We can take a whole other look at how we as the government are doing business, figure out better ways to do it, solve our short-term problems, then learn from all this so we don’t do it again the next time we have a recession. I much prefer the third option. It’s the one for the best long-term answers for Nevadans and for our wonderful State.