Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Chamber of Commerce’

Sen. Heller Gets National, Local Chamber Endorsement As Rep. Berkley Touts Her Own Business Support

By Sean Whaley | 2:57 pm August 9th, 2012

SPARKS – U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., showed up at a Sparks floral shop today to receive the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in his reelection bid against Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

The national endorsement was made by former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who said the choice was clear for the organization.

“This is a time, as you all know, of great contrast in politics,” said Spellings, president of the U.S. Chamber’s Forum for Policy Innovation. “These are not close calls; these are not tough calls, these endorsements. People who support business do so proudly and we are proud and honored to support them. While a lot of people talk a good game, it’s pretty easy to decide who is pro-business around here.”

Sen. Dean Heller speaks in Sparks after being endorsed by the U.S. and Reno-area Chambers of Commerce with Tray Abney and Margaret Spellings looking on. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Spellings, who served as U.S. Secretary of Education from 2005 to 2009, said Heller’s leadership on pro-growth policies, including American energy production, removing regulatory barriers for small business growth and reining in government spending, is what will get the nation’s economy back on track.

The Berkley campaign at the same time announced support from business leaders for her Senate campaign, including Republican businesswoman Maggie Arias Petrel of Las Vegas.

“Shelley has consistently supported small businesses in our community by voting for legislation like the Small Business Jobs Act, which provided incentives to get small businesses to start hiring again,” Petrel said in a release from the campaign. “We need Shelley to keep fighting for Nevada businesses in the years to come as a U.S. Senator.”

The Chamber of Reno, Sparks and Northern Nevada announced its endorsement of Heller at the same time at the Sparks Florist, despite not having interviewed Berkley first.

Tray Abney, director of government affairs for the regional chamber, representing 2,500 member businesses, said the group decided to endorse Heller because of his past support for pro-business policies. The chamber had expected Berkley to speak to the group during the August recess, but had not heard from her through today, he said.

Abney criticized Berkley, saying she is a “reliable vote for higher taxes, she’s a reliable vote for big government, she’s a reliable vote for making your energy costs more expensive.”

Berkley’s vote for the Affordable Care Act, for example, will lead to increased health insurance costs for small business, he said.

Tony Fiannaca, owner of Sparks Florist, also spoke in support of Heller, noting his family-run business that employs 40 people was built without government support.

Heller took the opportunity to criticize Berkley for voting for “cap and trade,” which he said would cost 50,000 jobs in Nevada.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act would allow the government to set a cap on the total amount of greenhouse gases that could be emitted nationally. Companies would then buy or sell permits to emit the gases, primarily carbon dioxide.

“In this Congressional District here, I knew we would lose 15,000 jobs and for that reason I voted against it,” Heller said. “Who in their right mind in Washington, DC, believes, that when presented an option of actually voting against your own constituents; losing jobs in this economy; would actually vote for it.”

He also criticized Berkley for her support of President Obama’s proposal to end the Bush tax cuts for individuals making $200,000 or more and couples making $250,000 or more.

Pam duPré, executive director of the Washoe County Democratic Party, offered a different perspective, saying Berkley has been a friend to business throughout her political career.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

“One good example is the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010,” she said. “It created $30 billion in capital for community banks to lend to small businesses to help them grow and create jobs. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval applauded the bill saying it would help create jobs in Nevada.”

Four Nevada banks used the funds in 32 locations, duPré said.

Heller voted against the measure, calling it “another bank bailout.”

But so did then-Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., who lost to Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., in the 2010 general election. Titus told the Nevada NewsMakers television show in April 2012 that she too was concerned it was a bank bailout. Titus is now running for the 1st Congressional seat in Las Vegas.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March 2011 that critics of the fund said some banks were applying for money to refinance outstanding government debt rather than to boost their small-business lending.

DuPré said the chamber “perhaps” could have done more research before making the endorsement.

“Shelley Berkley has always been a strong supporter of small businesses,” she said. “The choice really is very clear. Shelley supports giving small businesses the tools they need to grow and prosper and create jobs here in the United States. Dean Heller continues to support tax breaks for corporations so they can ship their jobs over seas and he continues to support tax breaks for big oil companies.”


Audio clips:

U.S. Chamber spokeswoman Margaret Spellings says the choice is clear in the Nevada Senate race:

080912Spellings1 :24 pro-business around here.”

Spellings says Heller favors policies that will get the nation’s economy back on track:

080912Spellings2 :15 back on track.”

Tray Abney of the Reno area chamber says Berkley is not a friend to small business:

080912Abney :10 costs more expensive.”

Sen. Dean Heller says Berkley voted for cap and trade, which would cost 50,000 jobs in Nevada:

080912Heller :17 vote for it.”

Washoe County Democratic Party Executive Director Pam duPré says Berkley voted for the Small Business Jobs Act, which Heller opposed:

080912Drum1 :27 against that bill.”

DuPré says Heller supports tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas:

080912Drum2 :24 big oil companies.”



Nevada’s Higher Education System Gets Failing Grade For Student Access, Success In National Report

By Sean Whaley | 3:43 pm June 22nd, 2012

CARSON CITYNevada is one of four states to receive an “F” grade for student access and success in its higher education system from the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a report released this week.

The third edition of its Leaders & Laggards series, “A State-by-State Report Card on Public Postsecondary Education,” was released Tuesday. The report examines public colleges and universities in all 50 states, including four-year and two-year institutions, and is designed to provide an in-depth evaluation of data and a careful analysis of postsecondary performance and policy across states.

Courtesy of the Nevada State Treasurer's Office.

“With tuition growing, debt loads increasing, students questioning the marketplace value of their degrees, and large amounts of taxpayer dollars invested, the business community and the public are starting to ask questions of policymakers and higher education leaders,” said Margaret Spellings, president of ICW and a former U.S. Education Secretary. “This report begins to look at how states are doing in preparing students for jobs after college and the value state taxpayers are getting in meeting the demands of local economies and employers.”

The chamber is urging policy makers, the business community, and educators to craft a reform agenda that promotes transparency to the public, demands better data on performance and improved measurement of student outcomes.

For the first time, the report grades postsecondary institutions in the following six areas:

  • Student access and success
  • Efficiency and cost-effectiveness
  • Meeting labor market demand
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Policy environment
  • Innovation

The Nevada System of Higher Education received an F grade for “student access and success” at both its four-year and two-year institutions.

Of the failing grades for student access and success in Nevada, the report said: “The four-year institutions rank in the bottom 10 states in terms of completion rate and the percentage of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants. The two-year institutions, despite having a retention rate in the top 10 states, ranked near the bottom on completion rates, credentials produced per 100 full-time equivalent undergraduates, and the percentage of Pell recipients.”

Nevada higher education officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Nevada’s three four-year institutions mustered a C grade for efficiency and cost effectiveness, and D grades in the categories of meeting labor market demand and transparency and accountability.

Its four two-year colleges received a C grade for meeting labor market demand, and D grades for efficiency and cost effectiveness and transparency and accountability.

Nevada’s higher education system as a whole received a C grade for its policy environment, a D grade for innovation: openness to providers, and an F grade for innovation: online learning.

“I think the results help illuminate that some state systems are doing a far better job of graduating students with the dollars they’re spending, and that too few states are providing students, families, and taxpayers with the information they need to make good choices or hold higher education institutions accountable,” said Rick Hess, director of Education Policy Studies for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which conducted research for the report. “With tuition rising at three times the rate of inflation, we want to work with the business community to ensure that students who invest in their education learn the knowledge and skills necessary to enter an increasingly competitive global workforce.”