Bryan addresses business issues during lunch meeting
Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nevada, presented a fast-paced review of Congressional issues to a group of South Shore business representatives on Tuesday.
“It’s no secret, this session of Congress will not go down in history as heavy-lifting,” Bryan said during his annual State of the Basin address, sponsored by the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce.
About 50 chamber members and interested individuals attended the luncheon at Horizon Casino Resort.
This is the 10th year Bryan has spent the month of August traveling throughout Nevada to speak to citizens of the state and answer questions about activities in the nation’s capitol.
“I always look forward to each summer when I come up here (to Tahoe),” he said.
Bills passed relating to transportation and reform of the Internal Revenue Service were among the few things of note in the last congressional session, Bryan said.
Nevada came out pretty good in the formula for distribution of highway funds, an issue that Congress must readdress every six years.
Nevada will receive 62 million more in transportation funding than it did during the previous cycle, he said, at a rate of $1.14 in funding for every $1 paid by drivers in the state.
Restructuring of the Internal Revenue Service was also a major accomplishment.
The organization had “institutionalized a culture that was anything but service-oriented,” Bryan told the business group.
“We changed the system,” Bryan said. “No one is suggesting it’s a panacea, but it’s going to help.”
Bryan briefly highlighted a number of current issues that could impact business in Nevada.
The efforts of the National Gaming Commission, which Bryan said is controlled by the Religious Right, could result in new Federal taxes on gaming or an unnecessary layer of regulation, he said.
Considering California is the largest market for Nevada gaming, passage of California Proposition 5, the Native Indian Gaming initiative, could cost Nevada “hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue,” he said.
Bryan commended California Governor Pete Wilson for not giving in to Indian gaming demands, saying the action reflects both the law and policy.
Social Security will be a major budget issue in the next session, he said.
The “temptation” will be to turn a budget surplus into a tax cut or spending spree, he said. However, the surplus is actually from payments made into Social Security beyond what is required for the year. Use of those funds could make it harder to prepare for future Social Security needs caused by the impact of longer life spans and the Baby Boom generation reaching their senior years.
Bryan called campaign finance “the greatest scandal in the country,” applying the charge equally to every political party.
Admitting his own lack of “virginal purity” in finance issues, Bryan said that he supported a campaign finance reform bill, although he doubted it would be passed by Congress.
“The system is out of control,” he said.
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