CARSON CITY — Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Sparks, is asking other legislators to “lay your cards on the table.”
As the budget debate in Carson City roils to no discernible conclusion, Hickey is bringing 21 lawmakers, business leadersa and academics to the Legislature to talk taxes and government reform.
“This forum will help get out into the open things that have only been talked about behind closed doors,” Hickey said. “As moderator, I plan to press participants to speak openly about the ‘end game’ here this session.”
That end game has traditionally involved closed door meetings between legislative leadership.
Hickey will moderate the “Recession, Revenues and Nevada’s Recovery” panel today between 3 – 5 p.m. at the Legislature. Viewers online can watch here.
Hickey said he would like to have a serious discussion in public that could evolve into legislative negotiations about the budget.
At the very least, the diversity of voices at the forum should provide an interesting sideshow to the day-in, day-out legislative hearings and committees.
Speaking at the forum span nearly every position on the tax debate. Politically, Hickey’s guests span the spectrum from left to right and include representatives from unions and contractors, free-market libertarians and progressive groups, chambers of commerce and school districts.
Hickey’s forum is not the only change in the legislative end game.
This year, Democratic leaders in the Assembly and Senate have said they will conduct budget hearings in the Assembly and Senate chambers. They say the move will lead to more transparency and include more legislators in budget discussions.
As first reported in the Las Vegas Sun, the change could prompt legislators toward a budget battle over education.
The Legislature has 49 days remaining to conclude its session, pass a budget and finish the drawing of political districts as required every 10 years by the U.S. Census.
Panelists for the “Recession, Revenues and Nevada’s Recovery” include:
Heidi Gansert, the governor’s chief of staff
Speaker Pro Tempore Debbie Smith, D-Sparks
Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas
Tray Abney, Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce
Carole Vilardo – Nevada Taxpayers Association
Dr. Elliott Parker – UNR economist
Clara Andriola – Associated Builders and Contractors
Geoffrey Lawrence – Nevada Policy Research Institute economist
Dr. Heath Morrison – Washoe County School District superintendent
Mary Lau – Retail Association of Nevada
Dr. Tyrus Cobb – former assistant to President Ronald Reagan
Neil Medina – Northern Nevada Contractor
Jim Pfrommer – Education Alliance of Washoe County
Former Sen. Randolph Townsend
Assemblyman Crescent Hardy, R-Mesquite
Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks
Bob Fulkerson, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
Chuck Muth – Citizen Outreach
Dave Humke – Washoe County Commissioner
Danny Thompson – AFL-CIO union representative
Norm Dianda – Q&D Construction