Economy & Jobs
Ben is proud to have played a key role in the policy changes that have helped turn Nevada’s economy around since the great recession. When Ben took office in 2010, Nevada’s unemployment rate was nearing 14% and homeowners had lost billions of dollars of value in their homes. Just 8 years later northern Nevada has reached nearly full employment, housing prices have recovered, wages are up, and more people are starting businesses in the Silver State every day.
Small business is the backbone of our economy, and Ben has fought for small business his entire career. In 2017, he sponsored a package of legislation to ensure Nevada is a great place for entrepreneurs and small businesses that included professional licensing reform, changes to our non-compete laws to encourage new business startups, startup ecosystem supports, and legislation making Nevada safe harbor for technology innovation.
If re-elected, Ben will continue this fight by working to lessen the state’s regulatory burden on business, maintain a low and stable tax structure, and find new ways contract with Nevada businesses to provide goods and services to the state.
With four children in the Washoe County School District, Ben understands parents’ worries and fears about the state of our public education system. As such, Ben has focused on innovation and reform as the goal posts of a better system.
Under Ben’s guidance in the Legislature, education funding has moved away from the traditional system of paying more and getting the same results into a method that supports specific programs and demands success. Such programs include new funding for children living in poverty, those who can’t adequately read or speak English, children who are gifted and talented, those who need special education, and those who want to learn in career and technical programs. Funding for these new ventures is outside the collective bargaining system, and they’re evaluated for their success every year by a non-governmental evaluator.
Facing a teacher shortage, Ben also sponsored and passed legislation created an alternate route to licensure program that offers a quicker pathway for someone to change careers and become a teacher, encouraging more business leaders to enter the classroom.
Finally, Ben is also a strong supporter of universal school choice. He fought vigorously to help create the Education Savings Accounts program in 2015 and worked to protect it in 2017, and he will fight to fully fund it in 2019. Ben is also a proud supporter of charter schools, opportunity scholarships, open zoning, and any program that helps parents find the right educational environment for their children.
Just two years into his career in the State Senate and following a first legislatives session where a Las Vegas Review-Journal survey recognized Ben as the “best freshman” in the Senate, his colleagues elected him Assistant Leader of the Senate Republican caucus in 2013. Ben has served in that role ever since, including as Assistant Majority Leader of the 2015 Legislative session, when he was also Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Ben prides himself of knowing how to successfully navigate the legislative process and putting that knowledge to work on behalf of his constituents. Ben has consistently sponsored and passed legislation that came at the request of constituents, including property tax exemptions and abatements, local fire service interventions, and even a bill making it possible for a local Rotary club to have a free fishing day for people with developmental disabilities. Consistently, when constituents have turned to Ben for help, he has delivered results.
Government’s Role & Budget
Ben focuses most of his legislative energies on state budget and tax policy, having spent all four of his legislative sessions on the Senate Finance Committee, including serving as its chairman in 2015. Ben has consistently fought for greater efficiency from Nevada’s state government and has seen tremendous success in those efforts.
In fact, the State of Nevada spent less money per resident in 2017 than it did when Ben was elected in 2010, adjusted for inflation. That type of disciplined fiscal leadership has helped Nevada maintain its low tax base and business-friendly environment while preparing Nevada for the economic success it’s experiencing today.