July 31, 2018
31 Jul 2018

Political Update – July 31, 2018





Nevada AG candidate Aaron Ford had past liens for unpaid taxes

By Colton Lochhead
Las Vegas Review-Journal
July 21, 2018

The Democratic nominee in the race to become Nevada’s top prosecutor has a history of failing to fully pay his taxes, public records show.

The IRS filed three liens against Aaron Ford, the Democratic nominee in the race for attorney general and current state Senate majority leader, for what amounted to more than $185,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, according to Clark County records.

The first lien was filed in October 2013 and indicated unpaid taxes of $14,754.34 from 2010 and $70,005.28 from 2011. The second was filed against Ford in April 2014 for $41,896.43 in unpaid taxes for 2012, and the third came in December 2014 for $58,685.07 for tax year 2013.

The federal government released the three liens against Ford in early 2016, according to IRS notices filed with the county.

Ford didn’t personally respond to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s questions for this story. His campaign manager, Peggy Yang, said in an email statement that Ford did pay taxes every year, but that his unpaid taxes occurred because of a combination of financial issues and his rise to partner at his then law firm.

“After the recession hit, like a lot of families, the Fords faced some financial difficulties, and after becoming partner at his firm, not enough taxes were withheld from Aaron’s paycheck, which is why he ended up owing more,” Yang said.

Yang also noted that Ford disclosed the liens in personal finance disclosure records that require candidates for office in Nevada to list any debts owed that exceed $5,000.

Ford reported the debts on those disclosure forms in 2014 and 2015, according to Nevada Secretary of State records.

John Vick, campaign manager for Ford’s Republican opponent Wes Duncan, said it was “pretty arrogant” for Ford to vote to raise taxes in the Legislature while having his own tax debts.

Keystone Corporation

Quote of the week

 


Quote:

"The most disturbing thing about Aaron Ford failing to pay his taxes is not just that it happened, but that it happened multiple times while he was serving as a Nevada state senator, and while he was voting to raise Nevadans' taxes." – Colton Lochhead,
"Nevada AG candidate Aaron Ford had past liens for unpaid taxes"
Las Vegas Review-Journal,
July 21, 2018

 

Nevada AG candidate Aaron Ford arrested 4 times in 1990s

By Ramona Giwargis
Las Vegas Review-Journal
July 27, 2018

Nevada Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, was arrested four times in Texas in the 1990s for public intoxication, stealing tires and twice for failing to appear in court.

The longtime senator also was investigated for trespassing into his now ex-girlfriend’s home, documents show.

The documents, first obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday, detail several years of legal troubles for Ford in his early 20s. The revelations come a week after the Review-Journal reported that Ford owed more than $185,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties.

Ford on Friday acknowledged making bad decisions in his youth and said he has learned from his mistakes.

“I obviously made some bad decisions, but college kids make bad decisions,” he said. “I’ve learned from these. I’ve grown from these. It’s part of what makes me so passionate for what I fight for. I don’t want the first 20 years of my life to be the judge of what’s happened the last 25 years of my life.”

According to records, Texas authorities issued an arrest warrant for Ford in October 1994 after he skipped arraignment on a misdemeanor theft charge. Ford was arrested in June that year and accused of stealing $20 to $200 worth of tires in Brazos County. His bail was set for $10,000, documents show.

Keystone's Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone's Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor's office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

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July 24, 2018
24 Jul 2018

Political Update – July 24, 2018





Where CCSD’s extra money went

By Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal
July 17, 2018

Nevada’s education establishment hopes you’re bad at history. Otherwise, you’ll identify what’s missing in its push for more funding.

Officials from the Clark County School District and liberal special interest groups are already pushing for increased education spending next legislative session. Expect to hear lots of talk about the need to fund the base and rework the funding formula. Don’t expect to hear much about Gov. Brian Sandoval forcing through the largest tax increase in Nevada history just three years ago — specifically to increase education spending. Why let little things such as inconvenient facts get in the way of your narrative?

So why is the district out of money? Here are four expenses you may not have known about.

1. Increased PERS contributions. In 2009, district payments to the Public Employees Retirement System equaled 20.6 percent of payroll. That percentage, set by state law, increased every two years, reaching 28.1 percent in 2017. In total, the district sent PERS $438 million last year.

If the PERS contribution rate had remained at 2009 levels, the district’s retirement costs would have been $117 million lower in 2017. Half would have gone to boosting employee pay, and the district would have had almost $60 million extra. Coincidentally, the district put its recent budget deficit at $68 million.

So did teachers and other school district employees at least see their retirement benefits increase? Nope. The rate hikes were needed to pay down PERS’ looming unfunded liability. The taxpayers, the district and its employees are paying more because previous retirees didn’t pay enough into the system to cover their costs.

Barring reforms, this will continue to cause budget drama for decades to come.

Keystone Corporation

Quote of the week

 


Quote:

"Rather than address its structural problems, the education establishment wants to — again — throw more money into a broken system." – Victor Joecks,
"Where CCSD’s extra money went"
Las Vegas Review-Journal,
July 17, 2018

 

EDITORIAL: To attract better teachers to low-performing schools, reform union pay structure

Las Vegas Review-Journal
July 21, 2018

State education officials raised concerns last week about disparities in teacher quality between Clark County schools in affluent and low-income areas. And, once again, the problem can be traced to the one-size-fits-all socialized pay structure that has long dominated teacher compensation thanks to union politics.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that experienced teachers prefer to use their seniority to secure work in the most comfortable surroundings. In many cases, that relegates new educators to campuses in poorer areas. As a result, schools in wealthier neighborhoods, according to a report presented to the state Board of Education last week, tend to spend more on teacher pay, exacerbating funding gaps.

“We’re funding schools that are serving at-risk students at possibly a much lower level than we’re funding schools in the affluent areas,” board Vice President Mark Newburn said, “and it’s all invisible. We can’t see it.”

Yet schools in so-called “at-risk” areas are eligible for a variety of programs that offer additional money in an effort to improve student performance. Most of those financial resources are not available to suburban campuses. In addition, let’s not confuse experience with quality. In general, higher-paid veterans may indeed be more of an asset in the classroom than fresh-faced rookies at the bottom of the pay scale. But in some cases, that won’t be the case.

Keystone's Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone's Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor's office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

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July 17, 2018
17 Jul 2018

Political Update – July 17, 2018





UNLV official paid $50K to college friend, but work done is unclear

By Natalie Bruzda
Las Vegas Review-Journal
July 13, 2018

Five months after UNLV launched its new medical school, the chief of staff authorized a $50,000 payment to her college friend for consulting services.

But little to no marketing deliverables were produced.

A series of emails beginning in February 2017 and obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal through a public records request shows how Maureen Schafer, former chief of staff for the medical school, hired Ernest Lupinacci as a branding and marketing consultant for the new school of medicine, all the while serving as his direct supervisor and skirting policies and procedures to pay him.

“I don’t know what he did,” said Chuck Johnston, managing partner and president of B&P Advertising, a Las Vegas marketing firm with which UNLV was also working. “I still don’t know what he did. We’ve worked with UNLV for 14 years and have a long-standing relationship with them. It was kind of a strange situation.”

Over a series of months, emails show UNLV officials and others questioning the payment amount, the contract and the quality of work performed.

Schafer, now UNLV’s director of special projects for government affairs, said in a statement to the Review-Journal that she used a “streamlined method to acquire professional services and minimize bureaucracy” in an effort to keep the school “on track with an expedited timeline,” while also noting Lupinacci’s experience working with Fortune 500 companies. The university refused to say why Schafer was reassigned, but said she began her new role on Dec. 19.

Keystone Corporation

Quote of the week

 


Quote:

"I had no expectations of him producing under me … and I wasn’t intending to hold him accountable for anything." – Deirdre Devine, the director of strategic initiatives for  UNLV School of Medicine,
"UNLV official paid $50K to college friend, but work done is unclear"
Las Vegas Review-Journal,
July 13, 2018

 

The Right Way to Measure Tax Changes by Income Group

By Kyle Pomerleau 
Tax Foundation
July 12, 2018

The Tax Foundation and other prominent tax policy groups typically focus on the percent change in after-tax income to measure how different proposals impact the distribution of the tax burden. This measure is preferred because it creates an accurate representation of the change in the distribution of the tax burden.

Other methods tend to overstate, or understate, the distributional effects of certain policies. Probably the most prominent example of this is measuring the “share of a total tax change.” Using this metric as a guidepost of progressivity and regressivity of a single tax change can imply some odd things about policy.

To show how, let’s take an example economy with 100 people with a distribution of income similar to taxpayers here in the United States (Table 1). The average income ranges from $7,807 in the bottom 20 of income earners to $1.5 million for the top earner in the economy. The share of income by income group in unequal. The bottom 20 percent earns 2.2 percent of all income, the third twenty earns 11.4 percent, and the top 1 percent earns 22.4 percent of all income.

Keystone's Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone's Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor's office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

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July 10, 2018
10 Jul 2018

Political Update – July 10, 2018





Nevada’s Economy Is Stronger Because of Smart Tax Policies

By Adam Laxalt 
Special to the Mesquite Local News
June 25, 2018

Nevada’s economy is soaring. The President visited this weekend to get an update from the front-lines on the results of his administration’s policies on jobs and the economy. I was happy to be able to tell him that, here in Nevada, we are leading America’s economic comeback.

No other state in the country was hit harder by the recession. Families from across Nevada lost their homes, their jobs, their sense of purpose and dignity. Today, our economy has been restored. We’ve got a lot more to do, but Nevada has clawed back from the brink of disaster and is stronger than ever.

We’ve been growing about 40,000 new jobs per year. We’ve got our lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade. And the incredible economic boom in Nevada isn’t just taking place in Reno and Las Vegas.  In fact, Eureka County has our state’s lowest unemployment rate, at 2.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  And Eureka is not alone.  Lincoln, White Pine and many other rural counties are under 5 percent unemployment.

Right now, manufacturing jobs are growing at the fastest rate. This past year, we’ve seen construction jobs go up by about 8%. Major projects are under way, right now, all over the state.

It’s not just big companies. Mom and pop shops with fewer than 100 employees are growing. We’re at a record high for small business jobs: 632,000 jobs—18,300 new small business jobs in the last year.

Tax cuts have helped Nevada tremendously. The tax reform that the President fought for has led to pay raises, bonuses for crew members, more quality jobs, project expansions, and more. They were willing to step up and make a difference, and because of that workers in Nevada have more money in their pocket every week.

Keystone Corporation

Quote of the week

 


Quote:

"Nevada is a place where hard work and innovation have always been rewarded. We must not lose Nevada’s exceptionalism. We need to fight to keep taxes low—we can’t go back to the tax-and-spend approach that Steve Sisolak pushes." – Adam Laxalt 
"Nevada’s Economy Is Stronger Because of Smart Tax Policies"
Special to the Mesquite Local News,
June 25, 2018

 

Teachers can opt out of union from July 1-15

By Victor Joecks 
Las Vegas Review-Journal
June 26, 2018

If you want to raise teacher pay, tell them how to opt out of union membership. That’ll save them hundreds of dollars a year.

It’s an opportunity teachers have only once a year, and their opportunity starts next week.

Nevada is a right-to-work state, so teachers don’t have to join the Clark County Education Association. Once someone joins, however, they may leave only by submitting written notice to the union between July 1 and July 15. The union’s address is 4230 McLeod Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89121. Support staffers and education employees throughout Nevada have the same limited opt-out period, although they must send a withdrawal letter to their specific union.

The whole thing is ridiculous. Imagine if you told your gym you wanted to cancel your membership, but you were told you had to wait for a two-week period in July. There’d be a lawsuit. With summer vacation in full swing and Independence Day next week, these are inconvenient weeks for teachers to ponder the issue. Of course, this is completely intentional. Union bosses are more interested in collecting dues from teachers than making it easier for them to leave.

Keystone's Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone's Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor's office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

To ensure that you continue receiving email updates,

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July 3, 2018
03 Jul 2018

Political Update – July 3, 2018





COMMENTARY: High-tax Connecticut offers a cautionary tale for Nevada

By Mark Anderson 
Special to the Las Vegas Review-Journal
June 30, 2018

As a retired Connecticut resident who resettled in Las Vegas in November 2009, it was with considerable interest that I read your June 23 editorial “Everywhere a sign.” The editorial accurately describes the disastrous effects high taxes — especially state income taxes — have on middle-class families, individuals and retirees. It leaves them virtually no alternative but to pack up and leave.

The Connecticut Legislature passed the law that established a state income tax after a protracted battle in 1991 with then-Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., who was elected as a third-party candidate and had promised not to support an income tax. He broke that pledge a few months after being sworn in. The tax passed because the majority Democrats in the state House and state Senate overwhelmingly supported it in an unholy alliance with the governor.

Since the tax took effect, it has gone from a flat 4.5 percent to a progressive rate structure with seven brackets and a top rate of 6.99 percent — a 55 percent increase from the original. I knew it was the beginning of the end for Connecticut’s middle class and resolved to move to Nevada as soon as possible after I retired. I knew Las Vegas well, because I had been vacationing here since 1982. Because the state’s constitution prohibits the imposition of an income tax, I was relatively confident that it would be difficult to ram one down the throats of Nevada taxpayers.

I have never regretted my decision to leave Connecticut, even though many of my family and friends still live there. The only people who now can afford to live in that state are upper-income taxpayers who can write off their state income taxes as a deduction on their federal income tax forms and low-income residents who live in subsidized housing and qualify for a panoply of social services paid for by Connecticut’s struggling — and dwindling — middle class. Those who have yet to leave have seen their property values plummet and watched helplessly as many of Connecticut’s major employers have departed for more business-friendly states.

Keystone Corporation

Quote of the week

 


Quote:

"I still believe Mr. Sisolak would sign into law any tax increase that comes to his desk should he be elected. If so, it is a decision we will live to regret." – Mark Anderson 
"COMMENTARY: High-tax Connecticut offers a cautionary tale for Nevada"
Special to the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
June 30, 2018

 

Let's learn from Seattle's 'head tax' debacle: Randi Thompson

By Randi Thompson 
Reno Gazette-Journal
June 14, 2018

Last month, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a “head tax” ordinance that would have levied a $275 per employee tax on Seattle businesses making more than $20 million a year. The same council voted to repeal that tax last week. The tax was intended to help the city fund affordable housing and deal with their growing homeless issue.

Council members say they changed their minds in the face of a well-funded and vicious campaign that sought to put a referendum on the November ballot to repeal the head tax. That campaign was led by two companies that would be most impacted by the tax: Starbucks and Amazon.

Now if you know anything about these companies, they are run by pretty progressive CEOs. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. Starbucks’ Howard Schultz closed every store one day last month to conduct “sensitivity training.” You’d think these CEOs wouldn’t mind paying $275 per employee to help Seattle’s homeless.

Keystone's Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

Keystone's Mission:

• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor's office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

P.O. Box 93596 | Las Vegas, NV 89193-3596

To ensure that you continue receiving email updates,

please add Info@KeystoneNevada.com to your address book or safe list.
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