In the race to see who will be District 41's assemblyman for the next two years, incumbent Paul Aizley is going head-to-head with Phil Regeski.
Before he was elected District 41's assemblyman in 2008, Aizley was dean of continuing education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Along with his family, Aizley founded the Class! newspaper written by and for high school students that was distributed throughout the Clark County School District.
His opponent, Regeski, is a small-business owner who earned degrees from UNLV and has been actively involved with Nevada's Republican Party for eight years.
Since taking office, Aizley said the toughest situation he's encountered is not having enough money in the state budget to "do what we have to do."
"We have a lot of missing services everywhere," Aizley said.
The incumbent candidate said his top priority is education, then he mentioned Nevada's tax structure as also being high on his list.
"We've had a low tax situation, favorable business taxes for 40-plus years since I've been here, and the businesses don't come," Aizley said.
The state assemblyman noted that businesses have been "getting more vocal" and saying they can't relocate to Nevada, because there aren't enough educational options for employees.
"So, they are criticizing our educational system in spite of the favorable taxes," Aizley said.
But, he stressed he doesn't think it's that more taxes are needed, he wants to overhaul the entire structure.
"Our tax system is about 40 years old. Las Vegas 40 years ago was a totally different city and Nevada was a completely different state," Aizley said. "We need to adjust where the revenue's coming from. ...I don't think we can keep hitting gaming and mining and a little bit of agriculture and make them pay for everything. It just doesn't seem fair, especially when the big box stores aren't paying at all. They (just) pay a payroll tax."
Regeski, too, is focused on changing Nevada's tax structure.
"There's a lot of our tax structure that's unstable," he said. "We really need to have a tax structure that follows the economy."
He said that Nevada's modified business tax structure, as it stands now, creates more money to run the government when the economy is healthy. But when hard times hit, there's a shortage of money. Regeski suggested the state adopt a structure that doesn't depend on how strong the economy is at any given time, but did say that further studies are needed because "tax structures are very complicated."
If elected, Regeski said one of his top priorities is school funding.
"School choice is very important to me," he added.
Regeski is advocating for a voucher system that would allow parents to choose the school they want their children to attend, whether public or private, then use a voucher to help pay for tuition.
Regeski also wants to require the Nevada Legislature to comply with all open meeting laws so that all laws and budgets are available to the public for 72 hours before a vote is allowed, and he's advocating a hybrid system for the state's Public Employees Retirement System that allows employees to choose between defined contribution and defined benefits.
Regeski also wants to deregulate the electricity market and institute an identification requirement for voters at the polls.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588.