Schwartz campaigns in Lovelock

State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Dan Schwartz was greeted by a small contingent of Republicans at his Lovelock meet-and-greet last week. His opponent Attorney General Adam Laxalt had a bigger turnout but Schwartz is determined to close the gap before the primary.

Schwartz is running for governor against Laxalt and Jared Fisher in the June 12, 2018 primary election. Whoever wins the GOP primary will likely be running against Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, in the general election on November 6, 2018.

Laxalt conducted a whirlwind tour of the state. Schwartz had a little more time for local voters.

“We’re here to talk about issues of concern to the people here. We’ve talked about healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid, education, the wilderness area,” Schwartz said in his speech. The state official is known for sticking to what he believes is best for the state despite the opposition.

“I grew up in Chicago, went to college, enlisted in the Army,” he told Lovelock voters. “Contrary to others who are running for office, I served my country and it was not a big deal like many other vets. I went, I served, I was honorably discharged and I got on with my life.”

After attending law and business schools, Schwartz said he worked in the world of financial services then invested in London and Hong Kong publishing firms. After moving to Nevada, and buying a house in Genoa, he got involved in state politics and was elected state treasurer in 2014. The candidate touted his achievements in that job over the last three years.

“I could run for treasurer again but, truthfully, we’ve done a great job there. We’ve tripled and quadrupled returns on the state’s portfolio,” Schwartz said. “We’ve cut the unclaimed property processing period from 120 to 20 days, We reissued bonds at a lower interest rate, which has saved taxpayers $80 million.”

Schwartz emphasized that changes to the entire state education system would be his priority.

“We’ve grown those (college savings) numbers. We really tried to restructure the college kick-start program but the legislature didn’t really like anyone being successful so they cut it back. If elected, we’re going to see about putting it back where it should be.”

Schwartz said he would continue to “lead the charge” on Education Savings Accounts that use tax revenues to help parents opt out of the state’s public education system and send children to alternative schools or educate them at home.

“When elected, the following day at 10 a.m., we’ll be holding hearings on how to fix the state’s education problem,” he said. “There are a lot of great schools, teachers and principals but this system is broken and no one has taken the time to fix it. It may take a week of hearings but I will hear everyone out and we will put together a package which we will send to the legislature.”

Schwartz said he stubbornly opposed the state’s fiscal involvement with Faraday Future, an electric car company that later “imploded” due to lack of financing. He said “the jury is still out” on Tesla and the state tax incentives that landed the company’s “Gigafactory” east of Sparks.

“There’s no question that Tesla and other developments have sparked an enormous economic surge in Reno, Storey County and even in Lyon County,” he said. “But, the real question is should Nevada be Santa Claus when it comes to giving out tax abatements and financing? I don’t think so. Nevada is a great state to do business in.”

Schwartz said he does want to diversify the state’s economy beyond gaming and the “pay to play” culture that he says caters to lobbyists and special interests in Carson City. He wants to focus on high tech industries such as drones and alternative energy and he believes the Silver State has a better business climate than California even without tax incentives or abatements.

“Bring in these businesses that are suffering under the weight of California taxes. Let them come here — they’d pay far less in taxes and the cost of doing business is a lot less. The cost of housing their employees is about a third of what it is in California,” he said. “For the price of a garage in Los Angeles, you could buy a house in Lovelock or Fernley or elsewhere and our county governments will work with you to get your (building) permits as quickly as possible.”

Schwartz said $750 million in tax revenues should go to schools rather than a football stadium.

“That’s public money and that’s money that I could use to improve schools, fund ESAs, repeal the commerce tax,” he said. “Education is incredibly important to me. We really need to look at what’s wrong with our education system. It’s time someone did and I will take that responsibility.”

As for health insurance, Schwartz said he wants to restructure the insurance premiums to separate minor “cuts and scrapes” claims from catastrophic health insurance claims.

“Seventy-five to ninety percent of doctor’s visits are for minor ailments and that insurance could be done at a considerably lower cost than what premiums are now,” he said. “I’ve been told it could be $70 or $80 a month. If you bring in telemedicine, you can do it for $20 a month. Catastrophic insurance is obviously more expensive and I will leave that to individual discretion.”

Schwartz said he would use this insurance strategy to reduce the state’s Medicaid costs.

“There’s a recognition that some people can’t afford health care,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with Medicaid but I don’t want to be spending enormous amounts of money where I don’t have to spend it. That’s the one caveat.”