Interview: How Sandoval Pulled Off Nevada's Biggest Tax Hike
The Nevada legislature has wrapped up its 120-day session after making the historic decision to approve more than a billion dollars in tax hikes for K-12 education. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reached out to Fred Lokken, professor of political science at Truckee Meadows Community College, to learn how such a controversial tax package gained so much momentum and support.
According to Lokken, passage of this bill really came down to two things: Sandoval's leadership and fracturing of the state Republican party.
"What we saw was the exercise of a brilliant tactician," Lokken said about Sandoval. "He talked to legislators, engaged the process, and was omnipresent. He used the power of his popularity with the public as a very strong tool of persuasion."
But Lokken doesn't credit Sandoval with everything.
"I actually think it was probably more the leadership of the conservative trust. Michele Fiore and Ira Hansen, I think, succeeded in driving a wedge that broke that block. We literally lost any elements of unity."
Despite having concerns earlier this session about legislative productivity, Lokken points out in this interview that a remarkable number of bills made it through. His conversation with KUNR's Michelle Bliss also includes examples of how both political parties managed to hinder and help the legislative process.