Assemblyman Harvey Munford is confronting his first primary election challenge in a decade. It also could be his last.
Munford would be term-limited if Assembly District 6 voters return him to Carson City.
Win, lose or draw, the popular incumbent still will be 73 years old, part of the reason he predicts you won’t find his name on a ballot beyond this summer.
Should he make it back for the 2015 session, Munford predicts education will be the biggest challenge confronting him and other legislators.
Proposed fixes for Nevada’s chronically poor ranking in state and federal academic performance exams include a proposed 2 percent business margins tax aimed at raising some $700 million annually to expand educational programs and bolster per-pupil spending. The initiative will appear on ballots in November.
Munford, who spent 38 years teaching in the Clark County School District, fears that solution might amount to throwing good money after bad, but he said he hasn’t yet made up his mind on the effort.
“I’ve never felt that money was the solution to our (education) problems,” he said. “That’s not the panacea; there’s a lot of other reasons why young people don’t value an education.”
Munford voted to support countywide property tax increases last year and has backed efforts to boost lodging and highway taxes in the past.
More than a quarter of his constituents live in North Las Vegas, a city he said could use legislators’ help.
State officials have hinted that legislation that could allow the cash-strapped municipality to file for bankruptcy and loosen property tax caps might be on their way to the Legislature in February.
It doesn’t sound as if Munford will be the one bringing them to the floor, even if he’s re-elected.
“I think (North Las Vegas) needs some money, but all local governments could use some money,” he said. “I would have to study the issue, consult with my colleagues, but I would say maybe.”
Anthony Snowden, one of two Democrats challenging Munford, didn’t mince words in voicing his opposition to proposed receivership — the state’s broadly untested alternative to municipal bankruptcy — for North Las Vegas and tax cap reforms, calling both just another way of “nickel-and-diming taxpayers.”
He took a similarly bleak view of the margins tax proposal.
“I would be opposed to any bill or measure where Nevada taxpayers will further be burdened with tax increases,” Snowden said via email. “Nevada citizens are already being taxed at a premium.”
Snowden unsuccessfully ran for North Las Vegas City Council and Assembly District 7.
Munford had raised $12,400 to back his re-election bid through January.
Las Vegas resident Arrick Foster, the other candidate in the primary race, failed to return repeated calls and emails seeking comment. He never has run for elected office.
Assembly District 6, which includes a big part of North Las Vegas, is home to more than 14,000 registered Democrats and fewer than 1,800 Republicans.
No Republican or other party candidates filed for the race, leaving a Nov. 4 general election runoff to the top two Democratic vote-getters in the primary. If Munford, Snowden or Foster receive more than 50 percent of the primary votes, however, he wins the Assembly seat.
Contact James DeHaven at email@example.com or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter: @JamesDeHaven.
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