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Nevada treasurer Schwartz touts accomplishments in office

Outgoing Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz will leave office with whopping gains in state investments and returns, but the outspoken Republican warned his successor of looming debts — including the “unrealistic” Raiders stadium.

“I love football, but I think the Raiders stadium is going to blow up financially,” Schwartz said in an interview Friday. “There’s no equity in the deal — it’s all funded on debt. I’ve heard estimates that it could cost up to $2 billion. Who’s going to pay for that? Mark Davis isn’t going to pay for it. If you went into the bank and said I’m buying a house but I’m not going to put in any money, they’d laugh at you and you’d be out the door in about 30 seconds. That’s the same thing with this.”

Schwartz, a Republican, chose to run for governor this year rather than seek re-election. He lost in the primary.

This week, he released a report card of his four years as treasurer. He touted accomplishments that include doubling the state’s general portfolio size, boosting annual returns by 2 percent, increasing funds given to state agencies by 425 percent and bolstering programs that help Nevadans save for college.

His office invested $1 million to help fund small businesses, Schwartz said, and his debt management team reduced Project Neon interest costs by an estimated $1 billion.

But Schwartz’s biggest regret is not investing in Education Savings Accounts. Had the accounts secured funding, parents would have been able to use public money to fund their children’s education, including for private schools. He encouraged his successor, Democrat Zach Conine, to find a funding source.

Conine isn’t taking the bait.

“As a general rule, I don’t believe the public education dollars should be diverted private schools,” Conine said. “The current ESA program is unfunded and it appears unlikely that it will ever be funded. The treasurer’s office will focus our efforts on programs that have bipartisan support and help all of Nevada’s children.”

Another major difference between Schwartz and Conine: The Raiders stadium. Conine said he supports Gov-elect Steve Sisolak and the Legislature’s efforts to “create thousands of jobs and provide an additional economic driver in Southern Nevada” by approving the stadium deal.

As for Schwartz’s next move, he said he isn’t done with politics. But first will be a two-month trek to China for Chinese New Year and to catch up with family because his wife is Chinese. But after he’s back in the states, Schwartz will weigh running for Congress in District 3 against newly elected Democrat Susie Lee.

Contact Ramona Giwargis at rgiwargis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4538. Follow @RamonaGiwargis on Twitter.

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