December 31, 2019
31 Dec 2019

Political Update – December 31, 2019

Teachers Pay High Fees for Retirement Funds. Unions Are Partly to Blame.

Anne Tergesen and Gretchen Morgenson
The Wall Street Journal

December 18, 2019

The pitch from the president of the Indian River County teachers union couldn’t have been clearer.

Liz Cannon, who heads the Indian River chapter of the Florida Education Association, urged union members to buy retirement investments from Valic Financial Advisors Inc. through a firm owned by the union. That way “we also make money,” she said in a November 2017 newsletter, through regular dividends.

What Ms. Cannon didn’t mention was that investments from Valic, a unit of giant insurance company American International Group Inc., can carry high costs that may translate to a smaller nest egg when teachers retire.

The setup is one of an array of similar deals in which unions and other groups get income from endorsements of investment products and services—often at the expense of teachers and other municipal employees.

The ties help explain why many local-government workers continue to pay relatively high retirement-plan costs, while fees in corporate-based retirement plans are often lower and have been falling for years.

At issue are 403(b) retirement savings plans for teachers and 457 plans for government workers—variations on the 401(k) plans many companies offer. About $900 billion was held in 403(b) plans for public-school teachers and 457 plans at the end of June, according to the Investment Company Institute, a mutual-fund industry trade group.

In the crowded market, an endorsement from a union or municipal organization or affiliate can help an investment-product provider stand out. It also can give the provider’s sales agents access to union meetings, teachers’ lounges, benefit-enrollment fairs and professional conferences to pitch retirement and other products.

Valic’s Portfolio Director, an annuity that is popular in teachers’ retirement plans, charges fees of up to 2.3% of assets annually.

Fees average less than 1% in 401(k) accounts, according to research firm BrightScope Inc. and the ICI. The fees 401(k) participants pay for mutual funds that invest in stocks fell to 0.45% in 2017, on average, from 0.77% in 2000, ICI and BrightScope data show.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“The unions should be advocating on behalf of members, not selling products to them. They are there to protect teachers’ rights, not exploit them.”

Scott Dauenhauer, a registered investment adviser in Murrieta, Calif., who specializes in financial planning for teachers quoted by The Wall Street Journal

Taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for political union activity, says NPRI director

Daniel Honchariw
Reno Gazette-Journal

December 9, 2019

Should taxpayers be required to subsidize the activities — including the political activities — of private labor organizations like the Service Employees International Union?

Unsuspecting Nevadans may be surprised to learn their hard-earned money is being taxed to do just that — advance the interests of government unions, including the SEIU among others, who continuously lobby for more public spending, higher tax burdens and larger government.

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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December 24, 2019
24 Dec 2019

Political Update – December 24, 2019

EDITORIAL: California town paying police more in pensions than salary

Las Vegas Review-Journal
December 8, 2019

To understand why public pension reform is urgent, look at California.

Despite a record stock market, CalPERS—the California government pension system — is only 71 percent funded. To make up the gap, it has been raising contribution rates across the state. Unlike in Nevada, where all participating governments pay the same rate, contribution rates vary in California. The amount some cities are paying is astronomical.

Rohnert Park is a small town 40 miles north of San Francisco. This year, contribution rates for its first- tier plan for police and fire employees are 110.9 percent of pay. That means for every dollar in salary, it’s contributing almost $1.11 to CalPERS. Next year, the rate will jump to 118.9 percent.

Last year, 15 public safety plans cost 70 percent or more of employee pay. This year, the number increased to 24. Next year, it’ll be 50, according to Ed Mendel at Calpensions.com.

A study from the League of California Cities found that pension contributions accounted for 8.3 percent of city spending in 2007. Last year, it was 11.2 percent, and by 2025, it’ll be 15.8 percent. Every dollar a government spends on pension contributions is one less dollar it has to spend on roads, parks or public safety.

Government agencies are already struggling to keep up.

“It is difficult to assess just how much strain current contribution levels are putting on employers,” CalPERS wrote in a report last month. “However, evidence such as collections activities, requests for extensions to amortization schedules and information regarding termination procedures indicate that some public agencies are under significant strain.”

Every government agency in California should be thanking President Donald Trump for overseeing a record-breaking economy. If the stock market weren’t soaring, contribution rates would be even higher.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“In the last decade, contribution rates to the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada for regular employees have increased more than 40 percent. Despite those increases, PERS is only about 75 percent funded. The upcoming problems this will create are perfectly predictable, but Nevada’s leaders have shown little interest in addressing them.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: Democrat plans would cripple economic growth

Las Vegas Review-Journal
December 12, 2019

Economic growth is more than an abstraction. An expanding economy is a healthy economy, one that increases living standards, provides robust employment opportunities and strengthens the public fisc. This week, the U.S. Department of Labor released statistics revealing that the Trump administration is doing a pretty good job in this regard.

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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December 10, 2019
10 Dec 2019

Political Update – December 10, 2019

EDITORIAL: Fealty to state constitution — when it’s convenient

Las Vegas Review-Journal
December 3, 2019

Last month, state officials announced that Assemblywoman Heidi Swank, a Las Vegas Democrat, would leave the Legislature to become the first administrator of Nevada’s new Division of Outdoor Recreation, created by lawmakers in 2019 to promote economic growth through activities such as camping, hunting, boating, hiking and the like.

“Nevada has so many amazing outdoor opportunities and a variety of agencies and organizations doing work in this arena,” Ms. Swank said upon accepting the offer. “I look forward to bringing all these entities together to further Nevada’s outdoor recreation economy and get more Nevadans outdoors.”

But Ms. Swank’s tenure in the position — which paid up to $96,000 a year, not including benefits — ended before it began. Seems someone forgot that Article 4, Section 8 of the state constitution prohibits lawmakers from sliding into “any civil office of profit under this state which shall have been created” during their term in Carson City. Days after the announcement, a legislative lawyer informed Ms. Swank that her appointment was probably illegal. She stepped aside.

“I can’t blame anyone in this,” she told The Nevada Independent. “It was a bit of bad luck.”

We’ll leave for another day whether Nevada needs a new bureaucracy to appease conservationists and other outdoor special-interest groups. The purpose of the Article 4 constitutional prohibition is sound and intended to prevent lawmakers from creating cushy taxpayer-funded sinecures for their own benefit. But while attorneys at the Legislative Counsel Bureau are rediscovering obscure passages of the constitution, did they perchance stumble upon Article 3, Section 1 of that very same document?

“The powers of the government of the state of Nevada shall be divided into three separate departments, the legislative, the executive and the judicial,” it reads in plain English, “and no persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any functions appertaining to either of the others.”

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“[Article 3, Section 1 of the state constitution] is intended to guard against the dangers of consolidated power by preventing persons from simultaneously serving in two branches of government at the same time. Yet it has been entirely ignored for decades in Carson City, where — despite state attorney general opinions raising questions about the practice — public employees have routinely served in the Legislature with impunity as the courts and legislative attorneys look the other way.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Clark County teachers hit with $1,000 pay cut, thanks to pair of recent rate hikes

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute

December 3, 2019

Just months after threatening an illegal strike to obtain a modest salary raise, members of the Clark County teachers union (CCEA) are going to have to give a big chunk of that back, thanks to a pair of recent rate hikes that will cost the average teacher nearly $1,000 a year.

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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December 3, 2019
03 Dec 2019

Political Update – December 3, 2019

EDITORIAL: Let employees decide if they want to work under a union contract or not

Las Vegas Review-Journal
November 30, 2019

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it’s unconstitutional to force government employees to pay union dues if they choose not to belong to a labor group. Now Congress needs to give nonunion employees in unionized workplaces the ability to negotiate their own contracts.

Last month, three Republican House members introduced the Worker’s Choice Act. It would allow workers in union shops to negotiate with their employers. That doesn’t sound significant — after all, it’s the norm in many work environments. In workplaces with union contracts, however, this would be a revolutionary innovation.

Under current law, unions negotiate a contract that covers all employees in a bargaining unit, including nonunion members. Even if you don’t join the union, you are subject to the conditions outlined in the union contract. Some nonunion members must also pay “agency fees,” which is the percentage of union dues that support contract negotiations. Agency fees are usually around 85 percent of full dues.

Nonunion employees in right-to-work states such as Nevada don’t have to pay agency fees. This is why unions are bitterly opposed to right-to-work laws. It dramatically undercuts their financial and political clout when they can’t extract payment from those who choose not to join.

Last year, the Supreme Court made all public employees right-to-work. In Janus v. AFSCME, the justices held that the mandatory collection of agency fees violated the free speech rights of nonmembers. In states without a right-to-work law, employees in private unions are still required to either pay agency fees or join the union.

Big Labor argues that agency fees are necessary to avoid “the ‘free rider’ incentive that would arise if nonmember employees could avoid paying dues while nevertheless retaining the benefits of representation by “an informed and expert negotiator,” as AFSCME argued in its Supreme Court brief.

But if unions are so concerned about “free riders,” they would be thrilled with the Worker’s Choice Act. Instead, they’re terrified of it.

The term “free rider” is a misnomer because the law grants unions a monopoly on collective bargaining. That means nonunion workers are prohibited from negotiating their own deals in union settings. This is the equivalent of a lawn care service cutting your grass every week without your permission. The company might complain that you don’t pay them. You’d correctly counter by pointing out that you never asked to receive their services.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“Imagine the union succeeds in increasing education spending by $1 billion a year. After four or six years, members of the education establishment will come to voters again and insist that this time — really — more money will fix our schools. Don’t let them keep fooling you.”

Victor Joecks

VICTOR JOECKS: CCEA promises that this time — really — more money will improve education

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

November 23, 2019

The Clark County Education Association’s plan to pass the biggest tax increase in Nevada history depends on public ignorance. That strategy has worked before.

Last week, union officials announced they will seek to qualify a ballot measure to raise taxes by $1 billion a year and direct the proceeds toward public education. The union could use the ballot measure to pressure the 2021 Legislature to raise taxes before the initiative went to voters in 2022. For perspective, the largest tax increase in state history to this date brought in around $750 million a year.

This new funding, the union contends, is the key to improving Nevada’s schools. If only someone had tried this approach before. Oh, wait. Nevada did — four years ago. And 16 years ago. And in the late 1980s. And for most of the past 60 years.

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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November 26, 2019
26 Nov 2019

Political Update – November 26, 2019

Democrats need outside lawyer in tax fight, judge rules

Bill Dentzer
Las Vegas Review-Journal

November 20, 2019

CARSON CITY — Elected state Democrats can’t be represented by the Legislature’s own lawyers in a lawsuit Republican senators filed to challenge the legality of two tax bills passed last session, a state judge has ruled.

The ruling means state Democrats named as defendants, including Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro; Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall, as Senate president; and Gov. Steve Sisolak will need to be represented by outside counsel in the case, though fees will be paid by the state. The judge set April 1 for a hearing.

The dispute involves the Legislature’s votes last session to kill a scheduled decrease in the state’s modified business tax and keep a $1 technology fee on DMV transactions. Under a voter referendum approved in the mid-1990s, any bill that raises revenue from taxes in Nevada requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature to pass.

The two bills in question met that threshold for passage in the Assembly but were one vote short of it in the Senate, where Democrats hold a 13-8 advantage. The bills passed the Senate by that margin and on party lines.

The business tax was scheduled to decrease with the start of the current fiscal year in July. Keeping it directs approximately $100 million in revenue to pay for education-related initiatives that were Democratic legislative priorities for the session.

Over Republican objections, Democrats pushed the bills through on the basis of a legal opinion from the nonpartisan Legislative Counsel Bureau. The bureau’s lawyers wrote that the two-thirds majority requirement did not apply when a tax is being extended at its existing rate. The eight Republican senators filed a lawsuit in July.

In Tuesday’s hearing, Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell sided with a GOP motion in the case to have the Counsel Bureau’s lawyers barred from representing the Democrats in the partisan dispute.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“It appears to this court that there’s a need for LCB to maintain its neutrality as to representation of all individual members of the Legislature. I just don’t think you can pick sides by representing individual senators against other senators.”

Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell

Clark County teachers union to push tax increase ballot initiatives

Amelia Pak-Harvey
Las Vegas Review-Journal

November 19, 2019

The Clark County teachers union is increasing member dues to fund a multi-million dollar campaign that would ask voters to approve a tax increase to provide at least $1 billion more annually for public education in Nevada.

The campaign aims to create two companion initiative petitions to raise taxes, although the Clark County Education Association has not yet settled on which taxes it would seek to increase. Initiative petitions require signatures of 10 percent of the voters who participated in the last general election in order to enact a ballot measure.

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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November 19, 2019
19 Nov 2019

Political Update – November 19, 2019

Join Keystone Corporation

The Keystone Dinner last month featuring Trey Gowdy was a tremendous success. We encourage all those who attended and those that were unable to, to join Keystone Nevada. With each new member our voice grows stronger to find and support candidates that will work for a regulatory and tax environment favorable to business growth and development.   

The 2020 election is just around the corner. The future of our state and nation will be at stake, possibly as never before. In Nevada, our goal is to return the Legislature to those who would achieve and protect our goals. Keystone serves as an institution to promote and institute that mission. We must work together to accomplish these goals.  

Please click below and join with us as we continue to participate in the great debate.

John Gibson
Chairman & President of the Board

Quote of
the week


Quote:

“Nevada’s public pension system faces two certainties. PERS will need more funding and that money will come from state taxpayers.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: Nevada PERS overwhelmingly funded by government contributions

Las Vegas Review-Journal
November 11, 2019

The Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System relies more on government contributions than any state but Utah, according to data from the Census Bureau’s 2018 Annual Survey of Public Pensions.

The numbers reveal some sobering realities for Nevada taxpayers.

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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November 12, 2019
12 Nov 2019

Political Update – November 12, 2019

Nevada Republican business tax lawsuit on hold

Geoff Dornan
Nevada Appeal

November 11, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Republican lawsuit seeking to rule two tax bills passed by a simple majority unconstitutional is on hold until a judge decides whether LCB Legal can effectively represent the Democrats.

That issue will be argued before Carson District Judge Todd Russell November 19.

Until that question is resolved, both sides have agreed to stay further action in the case.

In the lawsuit filed in July, all eight Republican Senators charge that Democrats violated the Nevada Constitution by passing bills delaying a sunset that would reduce the Modified Business Tax and a similar sunset on the technology fee DMV is using to pay for a new computer system.

While the DMV fee is relatively small, keeping the higher MBT rate will generate generate more than $100 million Democrats and the governor dedicated to K-12 Education.

Article 4 of the Nevada Constitution says a two-thirds vote is required, “to pass any bill or joint resolution which creates, generates or increases any public revenue.”

SB551 and SB542 were passed 13-8 in the Senate, one short of that mark.

But progress toward a hearing on the issue came to a halt after Legislative Counsel Brenda Erdoes filed documents September 16 that the Republicans argue makes LCB the counsel for Senate Democrats.

That prompted an October 24 motion by the Republican plaintiffs to disqualify LCB Legal as counsel for Senate Democrats.

Republicans led by Minority Leader James Settelmeyer of Gardnerville argue LCB can’t represent one group of lawmakers against another.

“It is a violation of an attorney’s ethical duty to represent a client if a conflict of interest exists,” the motion to disqualify states. “LCB is statutorily required to represent the Legislature as a whole and members of the Legislature cannot represent one member of that legislative body against another in an adversarial action. LCB’s representation of defendants Cannizzaro and Clift is directly adverse to the Plaintiff senators in this action.”

They argue LCB Legal must be disqualified as counsel for the legislative defendants, “because a concurrent conflict of interest exists in violation of the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct.”

LCB Chief Litigation Counsel Kevin Powers on November 6 officially filed a brief arguing that LCB has the absolute right to intervene on behalf of the Legislature.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“It is a violation of an attorney’s ethical duty to represent a client if a conflict of interest exists. LCB is statutorily required to represent the Legislature as a whole and members of the Legislature cannot represent one member of that legislative body against another in an adversarial action. LCB’s representation of defendants Cannizzaro and Clift is directly adverse to the Plaintiff senators in this action.”

October 24th motion by the Republican plaintiffs to disqualify LCB Legal as counsel for Senate Democrats

EDITORIAL: The dramatic link between freedom and prosperity

Las Vegas Review-Journal
November 10, 2019

If you want to increase a country’s wealth and life expectancy, while decreasing its infant mortality and poverty rates, make its people freer.

Those are some of the findings in the 2019 Economic Freedom of the World Report from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank. It annually compares the level of freedom in countries across the globe in categories such as size of government, property rights and access to international trade. The United States ranked fifth, up from 16th in 2016. The freest countries in the world are Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Switzerland. The least-free countries are Sudan, Libya and, in last place, Venezuela.

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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November 5, 2019
05 Nov 2019

Political Update – November 5, 2019

 

Nation’s Report Card shows more money didn’t improve Nevada education

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

October 31, 2019

Let’s start with something you don’t hear very often: There’s good news about student achievement in Nevada. There’s bad news, too, but let’s start with the positive.

Fourth graders in Nevada had the second-highest reading score gains in the nation over the past two years. That comes from the National Assessment of Education Progress, which measures student achievement in every state. Also called the Nation’s Report Card, it’s the best way to see how student outcomes have changed over time and make comparisons between states. Since it’s run by the federal government, states can’t tinker with it to artificially improve their results. The Nation’s Report Card uses a 500-point scale.

It wasn’t a great year nationally for fourth-grade reading, as the country’s average declined. Just three states, Mississippi, South Carolina and Nevada, had increases of more than 1 point. Mississippi had a significant increase of 4 points. South Carolina and Nevada each had an increase of 3 points, which isn’t deemed significant. But this increase wasn’t a one-time occurrence in Nevada.

In 1998, Nevada’s fourth-grade reading score was 206. For context, a score of 208 denotes a student performing at a basic level. A score of 238 means a student is proficient. In 2019, Nevada’s fourth-grade reading had increased to 218. That’s 1 point below the national average and 32nd highest in the country. That’s not great, but it is an improvement worth celebrating.

Most of the other results are bad. Nevada’s eighth-grade reading score in 1998 was 258. In 2019, it’s 258. That’s down from a peak of 262 in 2013, which tracks with the national trend. A score of 243 means an eighth-grader has a “basic” understanding of reading. Scores of at least 281 denote proficiency. Nevada tied for ninth-lowest in the nation.

Nevada’s math results are disappointing. On the bright side, both fourth and eighth graders scored significantly better than in 2000. But fourth- and eighth-grade math scores have declined since peaks in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Nevada ranks in the bottom 10 in both categories.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“[People moving to Nevada] care about the kitchen table issues: school safety and quality. Is the copay for my sick kid $500? Are my taxes going to go up?”

Billy Vassiliadis in an interview with the
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nonpartisans may hold the key to Nevada 2020

Rory Appleton
Las Vegas Review-Journal

November 4, 2019

Republicans and Democrats get all the headlines. They bring in the money, and they control all partisan elected offices in Nevada.

But the true power to decide future state elections, as well as whether Nevada again breaks for a Democratic presidential candidate or sides with President Donald Trump in 2020, may rest with a growing amorphous blob vaguely resembling a voter bloc: nonpartisans.

The nonpartisan voter designation has grown in Nevada by 89 percent in the last decade, while Republican and Democratic registrations grew by 24 and 15 percent, respectively. Nonpartisans now make up more than 22 percent of the active electorate, compared with Republicans at 33 percent and Democrats at 38 percent.

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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October 29, 2019
29 Oct 2019

Political Update – October 29, 2019

2020 State Business Tax Climate Index

Jared Walczak
Tax Foundation

October 22, 2019

The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index enables business leaders, government policymakers, and taxpayers to gauge how their states’ tax systems compare. While there are many ways to show how much is collected in taxes by state governments, the Index is designed to show how well states structure their tax systems and provides a road map for improvement.

The 10 best states in this year’s Index are:

1. Wyoming
2. South Dakota
3. Alaska
4. Florida
5. Montana
6. New Hampshire
7. Nevada
8. Oregon
9. Utah
10. Indiana

The absence of a major tax is a common factor among many of the top 10 states. Property taxes and unemployment insurance taxes are levied in every state, but there are several states that do without one or more of the major taxes: the corporate income tax, the individual income tax, or the sales tax. Wyoming, Nevada, and South Dakota have no corporate or individual income tax (though Nevada imposes gross receipts taxes); Alaska has no individual income or state-level sales tax; Florida has no individual income tax; and New Hampshire, Montana, and Oregon have no sales tax.

This does not mean, however, that a state cannot rank in the top 10 while still levying all the major taxes. Indiana and Utah, for example, levy all of the major tax types, but do so with low rates on broad bases.

The 10 lowest-ranked, or worst, states in this year’s Index are:

41. Louisiana
42. Iowa
43. Maryland
44. Vermont
45. Minnesota
46. Arkansas
47. Connecticut
48. California
49. New York
50. New Jersey

The states in the bottom 10 tend to have a number of afflictions in common: complex, nonneutral taxes with comparatively high rates. New Jersey, for example, is hampered by some of the highest property tax burdens in the country, has the second highest-rate corporate income tax in the country and a particularly aggressive treatment of international income, levies an inheritance tax, and maintains some of the nation’s worst-structured individual income taxes.

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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October 22, 2019
22 Oct 2019

Political Update – October 22, 2019

COMMENTARY: A lack of accountability, not cash, is what ails the Clark County School District

Robert Fellner
Special to the Las Vegas Review-Journal

October 19, 2019

Nevada’s education woes reflect a lack of accountability, not insufficient funding.

Nevada is projected to spend $10,197 per student this school year, which reflects a near tripling in inflation-adjusted, per-pupil education spending since 1960.

Sadly, this dramatic increase in spending has not translated into improved results. Nevada schools consistently rank among the worst in the nation, with only 28 percent of eighth-grade students performing at grade level in both reading and math.

Some blame this continued failure on insufficient funding and argue that things won’t get better unless Nevadans agree to pay substantially higher taxes.

But there is little evidence to support the claim that higher taxes and more spending will lead to better results. In fact, a recent study commissioned by the Legislature found that the amount Nevada currently spends — including both state and local expenditures — is already sufficient “to ensure all students can meet all state standards and requirements.”

Rather than seeking to burden Nevadans with a massive tax hike that is unlikely to boost performance, reformers should instead focus their efforts on addressing the root cause of the problem: the system’s complete lack of accountability.

Take, for example, the so-called evaluation systems used by the Clark County School District.

More than 100 district schools have for years received failing grades from the state, including at least one school where an incomprehensible 99 percent of students are below grade level in math.

Yet in a twist that would make Orwell proud, school officials claim that the district hasn’t had a single ineffective principal or administrator anywhere for at least the past four years (No bad principals in Clark County, evaluators say).

A similarly useless evaluation system is in place for teachers, which saw only 25 of the nearly 20,000 teachers evaluated, or 0.1 percent, rated as ineffective for the 2017-18 school year.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“With spending at $10,197 per student, the real problem facing Nevada’s public schools stems from a lack of accountability, not insufficient funding.”

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute

These groups of state employees want recognition under new law

John Sadler
Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2019

When Ken Edmonds moved to Las Vegas from Chicago, he was surprised at how his co-workers viewed management. Coming from a job in Chicago, he said was used to union representation.

Edmonds is a health care worker at Desert Regional Center, a state agency that offers services to adults and children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. He and his co-workers at the center have joined state corrections officers as the first groups of state employees to seek collective bargaining under legislation signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak this year. Both employee groups seek recognition as members of the American Federations of State, County and Municipal Employees. State troopers and others have also filed for recognition as members of the Nevada Highway Patrol Association.

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.

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