Nevada ranked in the bottom 10 on a new national study that examined whether residents of individual states are getting a good return on their tax revenues in the form of decent public services.
The study titled “States with the Best & Worst Taxpayer ROI” by the website WalletHub found that Nevada ranked 43rd in the quality of its public services, which includes public education, health, public safety, economy, and infrastructure and pollution. And in terms of whether Nevadans are getting an adequate return on their investment of state and local tax funds, the Silver State ranked 45th, suggesting that taxpayer funds per capita are not providing a lot of bang for the buck compared to other states.
For some public policy experts, the results were not surprising.
“One of the key takeaways from this study is that the amount of taxes spent isn’t nearly as important as how that money is spent,” Michael Schaus, communications director of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, said in an email.
For too long, Nevada lawmakers have depended too much on government solutions instead of allowing the private sector to take a bigger role in helping to address societal issues, according to Schaus.
“Nevada lawmakers have long held the belief that, in many cases, government can do things better than the private sector,” he said. “From education to energy to economic development, Nevada taxpayers are constantly funding failed central planning boondoggles thought up by government insiders and lobbyists.”
Specifically, Schaus pointed to what he called the state’s abysmal public education system and the state’s reluctance to allow alternatives to traditional public school settings.
“At the end of the day, we should be reminded that the private sector – where individuals risk their own money on projects and ventures – is where there will be higher return on investment, precisely because there are no taxpayer-funded bailouts for wasteful spending or poor investments,” he said.