Politics & Policy

The Ghost of Legislative Sessions Past in NV-3

Rep. Dina Titus is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Republican Joe Heck and finding the cost-per-point in NV-3 a bit steep in the process. After spending $1 million on ads attacking her GOP opponent, a Mason-Dixon showed the freshman congresswoman with just a 4-percent lead, which is within the margin of error.

Titus will need more—probably much more—between now and November if she is to stave off the coming counter-attacks and survive the rising GOP tsunami. Titus knows this, so the attack ads keep coming.

The latest campaign commercial goes after Heck on bank bailouts and executive bonuses, claiming Heck “supports the same lax regulations that created this mess”:

Heck campaign manager Mari Nakashima today told Battle ’10 that Titus is once again either talking out of both sides of her mouth or misrepresenting the facts.

“Dina Titus voted in favor of the executive bonuses, while acknowledging and admitting she read the entire ‘stimulus’ bill,” Nakashima said. “Now she has an attack ad out claiming it is Joe who would support it? Ridiculous.”

Nakashima was referring to a spot the NRCC did earlier this year that got Titus on record saying she had read the entire stimulus bill before voting:

As for the portion of the Titus “banks” attack ad that said Heck “introduced legislation to give Nevada banks a special tax break worth millions while at the same time opposing a property tax freeze for homeowners,” the Heck campaign said that is a misrepresentation of his past policy positions.

“The legislation referred to in that ad was a measure Joe introduced as a citizen-legislator that was intended to attract more businesses to Nevada and diversify the state’s economy,” said Nakashima.

“Banks were paying a higher payroll tax rate than all other businesses in the state, and Joe simply wanted to create a level playing field in order to attract more business to the state. It’s that simple,” she said.

The past votes of a candidate are always fair game, Joe Heck today told Battle ’10, but they ought to be represented fairly and accurately by both sides.

“I said then and I will repeat now, my bill was not about banks,” said Heck. “It was about an inequitable system that singled out one industry for a higher tax rate. We could have been talking about basket weavers or widget makers instead of banks. The principle was and is the same.”

“What message does it send to those looking to locate to Nevada for a new business venture that our tax system is inequitable, or that it could change at any time?” asked Heck. “That does not create confidence from those looking to make capital expenditures in a new venture, and the same principle applies to tax policy today in Washington.”

As for criticism of his vote against the Titus property tax freeze amendment, Heck said he voted against the measure along with a majority of other legislators because it was “a band-aid solution to a looming problem.”

The failure of Titus’ property tax bill to pass is notable and potentially ironic in the context of political history. The defeat of the bill, which was supposed to bolster her resume, preceded Titus’ defeat in her bid for governor in 2005.

If she loses this November, Joe Heck’s firm stance on fiscal and tax policy can be said to have helped defeat her again.

The two candidates are scheduled for three debates the week before early voting begins in mid-October in Nevada.

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