Searchlight, NV—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today sent a letter to Peter Orszag, Director Designee of the Office of Management and Budget, regarding the development of a new economic recovery package and Nevada issues Reid would like to see it address.
“Nevada has been hit harder than a lot of other states as a result of the downturn in the economy,” Reid wrote. “While the unemployment and foreclosure rates continue to rise, more of Nevada’s working families and businesses are looking to their elected leaders for help. The letter to OMB Director Designee Orszag is just the first step in answering that call and delivering much needed economic relief to Nevada.”
In the letter, a copy of which is included below, Reid detailed four key areas of importance to Nevada that he would like to see included in an economic recovery package: job creation, homeowner assistance, preservation of state services and tax relief.
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December 17, 2008
The Honorable Peter Orszag
Director Designee of the Office of Management and Budget
Obama Presidential Transition Team
As you work with President-elect Obama on the development of an economic recovery package, I am writing to seek your support for several items of particular importance to the people of Nevada:
1) Job creation. While joblessness has increased around the country, the problem is especially severe in Nevada. Unemployment in my state is now at 7.6 percent and many Nevada workers are understandably concerned about the security of their job. I therefore strongly urge you to make job creation a top priority of the economic recovery package.
More specifically, I encourage you to include in the package substantial investments in both renewable energy and our transportation infrastructure. As you know, it is critically important that the United States reduce its use of oil and become more energy independent, in part through the use of renewable sources such as wind, solar and biofuels. To achieve those goals, much more must be done to expand and improve related infrastructure, such as the transmission lines through which electricity is transported. In addition, our nation has underinvested in our transportation infrastructure, such as our roads and bridges, and our rail, transit and aviation systems. Addressing these deficiencies not only can create jobs in the short run, but can reduce traffic congestion, cut business costs, and improve our economy for decades to come.
2) Homeowner assistance. Nevada has been suffering from the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, and many homeowners in the state are on the verge of losing their homes. As you know, foreclosures not only create severe hardship for the families involved, but they reduce the value of surrounding properties and communities, and sometimes can lead to blight and crime. Perhaps even more importantly, the explosion in foreclosures and decline in property values is playing a central role in the severe financial crisis that is threatening to cripple our economy. For all these reasons, much more must be done to provide assistance to those struggling to stay in their homes, and I urge you to make this a high priority.
3) Preservation of state services. Like many states around the nation, Nevada is suffering from a serious fiscal crisis, and the entire state budget is under enormous stress. Unfortunately, the deepening national recession is likely to intensify that stress in the weeks and months ahead. Without significant federal assistance, Nevada almost certainly will be forced to make deep cuts in important services, like health care, education, law enforcement and assistance to those in greatest need. Protecting Nevadans from such cuts, in my view, should be an important element of any economic recovery package.
4) Tax relief. Nevadans not only are confronting a dramatically slowing economy, but they are being weighted down by a heavy tax burden. As I see it, providing meaningful tax relief for middle class families should be a significant element of the economic recovery package. This could include reductions in rates, an extension of the child credit or marriage penalty relief, or other tax benefits targeted for working families.
I look forward to working with you, President-elect Obama, and members of Congress to win support for these initiatives. I also urge you to pursue all such efforts in a nonpartisan manner, with the full involvement of leaders from both political parties. Just as it is vital to address the needs of middle class families, it also is important that we do so in a manner that changes the tone in Washington and promotes more bipartisan cooperation. I know President-elect Obama agrees.