KSNV: Titus on next relief round: More money for people, local government

Jun 16, 2020
In The News

COVID-19 has done what a terror attack and a great recession could not: shut our town down.

So, how fast should it reopen?

That's the first question I asked Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nevada, the dean of our Washington delegation.

“Well, I don't think you can put a date certain on when everything will be open up. I support the governor's decision. It was hard when he had to close down The Strip and downtown, That's the heart of my district. But he did it in consultation with health care experts and that's who should be making the decision,” Titus told me.

“People are getting a little antsy. They want to get together with their friends. They want to go back to work. They want to see their family. But the majority of people in Nevada know that we have to do this safely. Labor unions, gaming executives, people who are working on the front lines say if you do it too fast it will be worse down the road,” says Titus.

Titus and I social-distanced. She's working from home in Las Vegas because health risks are keeping the US House out-of-session.

However, negotiation is still happening on another relief bill.

Titus wants to see more checks going to people.

“Well, I'd like to see additional funding go to individuals like the $1,200 check because that doesn't go very far,” says Titus. She also wants money for housing help and money for local government.

Their tax revenue has dried up, clobbered by the shutdown.

“The university system's already talking about cuts; the governor's looking at across-the-board four percent, Clark County is talking about a billion dollars. We've got to shore up these state and local governments because they really provide the services that are on the front line,” says Titus.

Help can't come soon enough. At last report, more than a quarter of the state's workforce is now unemployed, put there by our self-induced economic coma to stop COVID-19.

Titus thinks by fall the local economy will begin to perk up. But getting back to the boom times we just left could be awhile she says.

“But we heard a briefing from Jeremy Aguerro, (the principal of the consulting firm Applied Analysis) who's the top numbers guy in the state; it may take up to four years to get back to where we are now, just with the high unemployment,” Titus says.

“And you know, when the economy is hit nationally, Las Vegas is hit even harder, because people have to be in a mood to take a holiday and have money in their pockets to do it,” she says.