(Annie Black) – With his decision to completely shut down Nevada’s entire gaming industry – putting over 200,000 casino employees out of work, as well as most of the state’s other businesses – Gov. Steve Sisolak has thrown us into a very deep hole that will take a vey long time to climb out of.

Many small businesses, especially mom-and-pop shops, are going to be driven out of business completely over the next 30 days, while others will be clinging on life support.

In addition, unemployment is going to sky-rocket, with some predicting it could exceed 20 percent.  And those Nevadans will not be able to go back to work unless the state’s business community is able to create jobs in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

These workers and businesses can’t wait until next February when the Nevada Legislature will reconvene for its regular session.  We need to take serious steps NOW.  Immediately.

That’s why I’m urging the governor to call a special session of the Legislature to pass and implement several measures to lessen the economic damage already hammering our state, as well as position Nevada to recover as quickly as humanly possible.

Here are 7 measures I suggest be put on the table for discussion and consideration…

1.)  Repeal of the Commerce Tax

2.)  Repeal of the Modified Business Tax on payroll wages

3.)  Elimination of state business license fees

4.)  Statewide cut in the sales tax

5.)  Reduction in auto registration fees to a flat $50 per vehicle

6.)  Roll-back of the minimum wage

7.)  Giving preference in government contracting to Nevada-based businesses

Taxes and fees take money out of the wallets of Nevada’s workers and businesses.  Tax cuts put money back in.  That’s what’s called for here.  Now more than ever.

As for the inevitable question as to how we’ll “pay for” tax cuts, it’s simple.  And something Gov. Sisolak should certainly be able to appreciate.

In his shut-down order, the governor separated Nevada’s businesses and workers into two categories: essential and non-essential.  It’s time to do the same for government departments and programs.

A serious look at our state government, from top to bottom, needs to be done ASAP.  If it’s truly essential – such as courts and public safety – we continue to fund it.  If not, it needs to be cut or privatized.

Yes, that necessarily means some non-essential government employees will need to look for other employment, just as many private sector workers are now being forced to do.

Hard times require hard choices.  And we’re certainly facing hard times right now.

If we’re all in this together, that must mean ALL of us – the private sector and well as government.  And those decisions should be made NOW, not next February.  Time to call a special session.

Annie Black is a Mesquite City Councilwoman and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 19.  You can get more information by visiting www.electannieblack.com