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EDITORIAL: Lombardo’s veto on the ballot this November

Gov. Joe Lombardo doesn’t have to run for re-election this year, but his gubernatorial power is very much on the line this November.

Top-of-the-ticket political races will garner much attention over the next several months. Passions are already boiling over regarding the race for the White House, and Nevada is a swing state that could help elect either President Joe Biden or Donald Trump. The battle to control Congress will also generate great interest, and Nevada has a high-profile U.S. Senate race with two or three competitive House races.

Even so, less scrutinized state legislative contests have the potential to most affect the lives of Nevadans. Thanks in part to gerrymandering, Democrats enjoy a supermajority in the Assembly and are just one vote away from achieving such a threshold in the state Senate. Last session, Gov. Lombardo, a Republican, vetoed a record number of bills in a single session. If Democrats win supermajorities in both chambers this November, the governor would be rendered largely irrelevant. Democrats could override his vetoes and pass whatever they desired.

How far would they go? Under such a scenario, Democrats would face enormous pressure from the radical progressives now dominating the party to engage in all manner of mischief, particularly when it comes to taxes and the state’s economy.

That’s why it’s worth remembering that, despite its many natural advantages, businesses and residents are fleeing California. The combination of high taxes, onerous regulations and union-dominated policies have put the Golden State on the decline. That should be a flashing warning light to other states. But Nevada Democrats often govern as if California provides a road map for this state to follow.

California has long driven up housing prices by restricting development. In recent years, it enacted statewide rent control. Rent control benefits current tenants and reduces the incentive to build new residences and maintain current ones. Economists may not agree on much, but most believe rent control is a long-term disaster. Gov. Lombardo vetoed a rent control bill last session. If his veto loses its sting, expect a new rent control bill to be much more onerous.

Democrats in California imposed rules on gig workers that harmed independent contractors. Their “green” push has driven electricity and gasoline prices through the roof. Taxes and regulations stifle businesses. Criminals openly steal from stores, knowing they have little to fear on the small chance police bother arresting them.

The stakes are too high for Gov. Lombardo to treat this as a personal off-year. He clearly recognizes as much. He has been actively working to raise money to elect legislative Republicans to defend his gubernatorial veto.

Undecided and independent voters would be wise to recognize the importance of this fall’s legislative elections.

This commentary initially appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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