March 31, 2020
31 Mar 2020

Political Update – March 31, 2020

 

EDITORIAL: Labor transparency needed as local governments deal with financial pain

Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 29, 2020

The coronavirus economic shutdown is devastating local government budgets. That’s why transparency in collective bargaining negotiations is more important than ever.

It’s too early to know how much tax revenues will drop because of the forced closure of many businesses. Much will depend on how soon Gov. Steve Sisolak and health experts deem it’s safe for Nevadans to go back to work. In a best-case scenario, that recovery will happen quickly enough that the downturn doesn’t sink property values, which would decrease property tax revenues. Regardless, local governments will see a big hit from a decline in sales, gaming and room taxes.

That’s going to cause numerous problems throughout Southern Nevada. Just a few years ago, the Clark County School District’s reserve fund represented only a few hours of spending. Until the virus hit, the district had been slowly building up its reserve, but it’s still not large. Clark County’s fiscal position is stronger. Its budget this year included an ending fund balance of 9 percent, although that doesn’t account for the current drop in revenue.

Local governments spend the vast majority of their general funds on personnel costs. In the school district, it’s more than 80 percent. For the Metropolitan Police Department, it’s more than 85 percent. This means that when elected officials go looking for budget reductions, employee compensation must inevitably be considered. This is especially true if a falling stock market forces Nevada’s Public Employees’ Retirement System to hike contribution rates — again.

Absent a special session — which is almost a certainty — the school district will likely have difficulty fulfilling the contract it agreed to last year. Meanwhile, Clark County has several bargaining groups whose contracts end in June.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“Government alone can’t solve the coronavirus crisis. And it needs to get out of the way of the private companies that are rushing to become part of the solution.”

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

VICTOR JOECKS: How private-sector companies are saving America from coronavirus

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 28, 2020

Anyone who thinks the coronavirus outbreak shows the need for larger government hasn’t been paying attention.

Over the past few months, government agencies made mistake after mistake, which allowed the coronavirus to proliferate in the United States. Private companies — once unshackled from government regulations — are the ones swinging into action to produce desperately needed medical products.


Follow Keystone Online

     

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.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser

March 24, 2020
24 Mar 2020

Political Update – March 24, 2020

 

Poll: Nevadans, by a 4-1 margin, want transparency in collective bargaining

Michael Schaus
Nevada Policy Research Institute

March 17, 2020

Nearly three out of four likely Nevada voters want more transparency from public employee unions and government agencies, according to a new statewide public opinion poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights on behalf of the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

When asked if labor negotiations between public unions and government employers should be made transparent and open to the public, Nevadans overwhelmingly agreed, with 73 percent of total respondents supporting such a measure.

Support was strong across all demographics, including two-thirds of current union members responding in favor of greater transparency.

“Unfortunately, Nevadans simply aren’t receiving the kind of openness they expect, and are entitled to, when it comes to union negotiations with government agencies,” said Nevada Policy Communications Director Michael Schaus.

While the state’s Open Meetings Law requires that government business be conducted in public view, contract negotiations with government unions are exempt from this requirement — shutting government workers and taxpayers out of the process that determines how their tax dollars will be spent.

“I think most people are probably pretty shocked when they learn that these negotiations over how to spend public dollars happen behind closed doors,” Schaus said. “Such secrecy is directly at odds with what Nevadans expect from their government.

“As this poll demonstrates, making the process more transparent is something Nevadans, including union members themselves, overwhelmingly support.”

The bipartisan support for greater transparency in government also extends to Nevada lawmakers.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“As this poll demonstrates, making the process more transparent is something Nevadans, including union members themselves, overwhelmingly support.”

Michael Schaus
Nevada Policy Research Institute

Policy group: More options needed to improve Nevada education, not increased taxes

Kimberly James
The Center Square

March 19, 2020

A Carson City judge blocked a petition from a teacher’s union that would have increased the state sales tax.

The Clark County Education Association’s proposal would raise the Local Scool Support Tax, a component of the state tax, by 1.5 percentage points. This would make the state sales tax to nearly 10 percent, the highest in the nation.


Follow Keystone Online

     

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.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser

March 17, 2020
17 Mar 2020

Political Update – March 17, 2020

VICTOR JOECKS: Education lawsuit backers suing system they spent years praising

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 5, 2020

If those behind a new education funding lawsuit are upset about the quality of Nevada’s public schools, they should be suing themselves. They’ve supported the very education initiatives they now claim have produced a constitutionally deficient system.

On Wednesday, Educate Nevada Now sued the state over what it argues is a lack of school funding. The group wants the courts to rule that the state doesn’t provide enough money to produce a minimally acceptable level of education. The lead plaintiff in the case is Caryne Shea, who is vice president of the education advocacy group HOPE for Nevada.

It’s not news that Nevada’s education system is doing poorly. What’s noteworthy is that both ENN and Shea have spent the past five years praising the steps Nevada politicians have taken on education.

In 2015, then-Gov. Brian Sandoval proposed the largest tax hike in Nevada history, specifically to fund education. Shea signed a statement supporting Sandoval’s “education initiatives” and tax increase. After Sandoval muscled his spending plan and taxes through the Legislature, HOPE put out a celebratory newsletter.

“The majority of HOPE’s objectives this session came to fruition,” the release read. It continued, “Nevada’s students, teachers are real winners with unprecedented funding for schools.”

ENN came into existence during the middle of the 2015 legislative session. Its first big move was to file a lawsuit against Education Savings Accounts, a school choice program passed earlier that year. ESAs would have forced public schools to improve by enabling families to choose alternatives, such as private schools. ENN won its lawsuit, and ESAs never took effect.

In 2017, both ENN and Shea’s group praised the actions taken during Sandoval’s final legislative session.

“Nevada’s education reform architecture that has been developed through bipartisan effort in the last three sessions is sound and ambitious,” Sylvia Lazos, then-ENN’s policy director, wrote as part of written testimony submitted during the session.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“This is the height of arrogance. [Educate Nevada Now and Caryne Shea] should be begging for forgiveness from Nevada students for pushing policies that they now acknowledge failed miserably. They mistakenly believe that you can fix a broken system by dumping more money into it.”

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Judge blocks teachers union’s $1B sales tax plan

Colton Lochhead
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 14, 2020

A Carson City judge on Friday blocked a sales tax increase proposed by a teachers union that would generate $1 billion per year in new state revenue.

But John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association which proposed the ballot measure, called the injunction from the judge “a bump in the road” and said the group plans to refile the petition soon.


Follow Keystone Online

     

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.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser

March 10, 2020
10 Mar 2020

Political Update – March 10, 2020

Another billion dollar tax hike to ‘fix’ education?

Nevada Policy Research Institute
March 3, 2020

The Clark County Education Association is lobbying for a $1.4 billion tax hike to increase spending on public education.

This would raise Nevada’s average sales tax rate to nearly 10 percent — the highest in the nation. Here are some quick facts about this proposed tax increase and the current state of education funding in Nevada:

Nevadans can’t afford this tax increase:

  • Sales taxes are incredibly regressive — hurting low-and middle-income families the hardest.
  • Nevadans already earn less than residents of most other states, ranking 47th in terms of private-sector median earnings. 
  • This tax increase would require Nevadan to pay a nearly 10 percent average state sales tax rate —  the highest in the nation.

More spending does not mean better academic performance:

Nevada’s per-pupil spending levels, at more than $10,000 per student, are already comparable to states that have consistently higher levels of academic performance, such as Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Florida.

As the scatterplot below illustrates, simply spending more money is no guarantee of improved student learning. Other factors beyond per-pupil spending, such as accountability reforms, performance-based evaluations and educational choice programs, have been empirically proven to increase academic performance — as well as boost other important measures such as college enrollment, civic engagement and parental and student satisfaction.

There are alternatives to hiking taxes:

Rather than forcing Nevadans to pay the nation’s highest average sales tax, lawmakers should instead empower families with greater educational options. Policymakers should ensure students have access to the classrooms that suit their unique needs, rather than simply pouring more money into classrooms that don’t.

In the end, Nevadans deserve an educational system that actually works for students — not merely one that takes more hard-earned money away from working families.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“Contrary to the narrative being pushed by advocates of government intervention, capitalism remains the most effective mechanism for producing widespread wealth and prosperity ever discovered — and the evidence is right in front of us.”

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute

Middle-class Americans are thriving, thanks to capitalism!

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute

March 5, 2020

Candidates in the Democrat presidential primary are united around a single message: middle-class Americans are not benefiting from the enormous gains in wealth and prosperity created by capitalism and, as such, government needs to play a much larger role in the economy.

This narrative is objectively false.

The unemployment rate is currently at 3.6% — the lowest level seen in 50 years. The 11.8 percent overall poverty rate is approaching an all-time low, with the rate for both African Americans and Hispanics having already hit that mark.  


Follow Keystone Online

     

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.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser

March 3, 2020
03 Mar 2020

Political Update – March 3, 2020

The Highest Sales Tax in the Nation Won’t Fix Nevada Education

Michael Schaus
Nevada Policy Research Institute
for Nevada Business Magazine

March 1, 2020

Nevadans deserve an education system that actually works, not merely one that costs more money. Nevada already spends roughly $10,200 per student, an amount comparable to numerous states (and nations) that outperform us academically on a regular basis. And yet, the Clark County Education Association (CCEA) is convinced that a simple billion-dollar tax hike will, somehow, fix all our education woes.

Earlier this year, the CCEA announced plans to lobby for a couple of tax hikes that would generate a whopping $1.4 billion in new revenue for public education. More than $300 million would be generated by a higher gaming tax. The bulk of the revenue (roughly $1.1 billion) would come from an increase to the state’s sales tax.

If successful, the CCEA’s tax hike would give Nevada the dubious distinction of being home to the nation’s highest average sales tax — higher even than California, New York and Massachusetts. Nevadans already earn less than residents in those other states, with private sector median earnings ranking 47th out of 50 states after cost of living adjustments. This is hardly the economic demographic equipped to deal with a billion-dollar sales-tax increase.

The CCEA maintains such a tradeoff must be made if we expect to “fully fund” public education — an argument that is either rooted in deep ignorance of current education funding levels, or outright dishonesty. After all, it’s not as if Nevada is spending pennies on education when the rest of the nation is spending dollars. Our per-pupil spending levels are perfectly in line with states that have consistently higher levels of academic performance, such as Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Florida.

More importantly, we’ve been down this road before. Since the 1960s, per-pupil funding in Nevada has tripled. Just five years ago, Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law the state’s largest-ever tax hike for the ostensible purpose of “fixing education.” And yet, academic performance continues to disappoint.

*IMPORTANT*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“Making Nevadans poorer by thrusting a billion-dollar tax hike on them isn’t going to change what’s wrong with public education in this state. It’s simply going to make it more expensive.”

Michael Schaus, Nevada Policy Research Institute

NEVADA STATE AND LOCAL TAXES ALREADY TOO REGRESSIVE

Thomas Mitchell
The Ely Times

February 28, 2020

In this presidential election year there has been an ongoing and vigorous debate, nay, a knock-down-drag-out fight over the question of whether the wealthy pay their fair share of federal taxes. There is ample ammo for both sides of that argument.

But when it comes to state and local taxes there is no debate. The tax data from nearly every state shows those tax practices are highly regressive, meaning the poorer citizens pay a disproportionately higher share of their income in state and local taxes than wealthier citizens, which is simply unfair.


Follow Keystone Online

     

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.
Click here to unsubscribe 
Having trouble viewing this e-mail? View it in your browser