Author Archive for: webmaster

May 21, 2019
21 May 2019

Political Update – May 21, 2019

 

When bureaucrats decide a tax increase isn’t actually an increase… 

Nevada Policy Research Institute

May 10, 2019

In order to fund Governor Sisolak’s proposed budget, Democrats want to change current law, and keep in place a temporary tax increase from 2015. That increase to the Modified Business Tax was originally set to expire this year.

Most people had assumed that such a move would require at least two-thirds support from the legislature — meaning at least one Republican in the Senate would need to join Democrats in voting to extend the tax.

However, the Legislative Council Bureau apparently had a different opinion, telling Democrats this week that no such “supermajority” is needed.

Apparently, the LCB has a different definition of the word “increase” than the rest of us.

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“I’m grateful to the Legislative Counsel Bureau for their work to issue this opinion and am pleased that they’ve concluded that a two-thirds vote is not required to pass my recommended budget.”

Governor Steve Sisolak

Details missing from new education funding bill

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal 

May 16, 2019

The long-awaited bill creating a new education funding formula is here. Many key details, however, are yet to be determined.

On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released the blueprint for a new school funding plan, Senate Bill 543. For years, many Democratic politicians have criticized the current formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who lack English prociency or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students, so they need additional services, which costs additional money.

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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May 14, 2019
14 May 2019

Political Update – May 14, 2019

 

EDITORIAL: Sisolak, Democrats wrong to seek shortcut to tax hikes 

Las Vegas Review-Journal

May 11, 2019

Forget Washington. If you’re looking for an impending constitutional crisis, head to Carson City.

Nevada’s constitution requires that tax increases pass the Legislature with a two-thirds majority in both houses. That provision — approved by voters in 1994 and 1996 — has frequently frustrated big-government politicians. They’ve either had to do the hard work of securing broad support for new taxes or abandon their plans.

Gov. Steve Sisolak wants a third option — ignoring the constitution. On Thursday, the Review-Journal obtained copy of a nonbinding legal opinion from the Legislative Counsel Bureau saying he could do just that.

Sisolak’s budget relies on receiving around $100 million by extending the current rate of the Modified Business Tax, which is scheduled to decline slightly. Democrats have a two-thirds majority in the Assembly, but are one vote short of two-thirds in the Senate. Sisolak and legislative Democrats sought the LCB’s opinion, because they didn’t want to have to negotiate with Republicans.

While LCB claims to be nonpartisan, it serves as the majority party’s lawyers. If Democratic leaders insist on reaching a certain conclusion, LCB’s lawyers will come up with whatever twisted argument they can to justify it.

Which is exactly what LCB did in this opinion. Nevada’s constitution requires a two-thirds vote “to pass a bill or joint resolution which creates, generates, or increases any public revenue in any form.” Legislators can a pass a tax increase with a simple majority only by sending it out for a vote of the people.

To determine whether a bill “increases any public revenue in any form,” you don’t need a legal opinion, just a calculator. Without the proposed bill, look at what public revenues will be. If the proposed bill passes, see if public revenue will be higher than before. If yes, that’s an increase of public revenue.

Raising revenue is the entire reason Sisolak wants this bill to start with. He needs the nearly $100 million to balance his budget.

*NEW*

Quote of
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“With 11% revenue growth Democrat leaders have many options to fund NV and get us out of the legislative session without triggering a constitutional crisis.”

Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer
on Twitter

EDITORIAL: CCSD needs to prepare to prevent teachers from striking

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal 

May 12, 2019

A dispute between adults shouldn’t hinder the amount of time students spend in the classroom. Yet that could be the ramification for the Clark County Education Association’s irresponsible strike threats.

On Sunday, the union announced that 78 percent of the more than 5,000 members voting authorized a strike at the start of next school year if it doesn’t get its way at the Legislature. It’s all about “the children,” right? Sure.

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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May 7, 2019
07 May 2019

Political Update – May 7, 2019

 

Senate Republicans Introduce Emergency Legislation to Protect Rainy Day Fund 

Nevada Senate Republicans

May 1, 2019

Today the Senate Republican Caucus introduced emergency legislation to protect The State of Nevada’s “Rainy Day Fund” formally known as the Account to Stabilize the Operation of State Government.

Current law allows for the legislature to spend money from the “Rainy Day Fund” for any purpose without limitations during the 120-day legislative session.  Our emergency legislation will require a 45 day (6.25%) operating balance in the fund before the legislature can access the excess of that amount, unless triggers occur.

The true purpose of the “Rainy Day Fund” is to protect Nevada’s government services when regular revenue is decreased. Nevada used this account during the last recession and still made cuts in government services, including lay-offs and furloughs of state employees. 

“The “Rainy Day Fund” was bankrupt when Governor Sandoval took office, today the fund is at an all-time high, yet still would not cover operating expenses for 30-45 days,” said Senator James Settelmeyer.  “Today’s Economic Forum report makes it clear that we need to protect and grow the fund and not use it for pet projects during the session.”

“A healthy rainy-day fund will allow the legislature to protect our most essential services if the economy continues to slow,” said Senator Ben Kieckhefer.  “Lawmakers must show restraint and enact limitations on when they can and cannot access this important economic safeguard.”

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Quote of
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“In its simplest terms, the governor and the Democrats are trying to spend more money than is available. How will Democrats keep their promise to teachers and unions while still balancing the state budget?”

Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler
Las Vegas Review-Journal

New state revenue projections offer little good news for Nevada lawmakers, teachers

James DeHaven
Reno Gazette Journal

May 1, 2019

Nevada lawmakers’ lives just got a lot harder.

That was the takeaway from the Legislature on Wednesday, where a five-member panel of financial experts OK’d an underwhelming batch of revenue projections that will be used to finalize the state’s two-year budget.

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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May 1, 2019
01 May 2019

Political Update – May 1, 2019

 

NV Assembly rolls back prevailing wage changes approved by 2015 legislature 

Geoff Dornan
Nevada Appeal

April 30, 2019

On a party line vote, the Nevada Assembly on Monday, April 29, adopting a bill rolling the changes to state;s prevailing wage statutes made by the Republican-dominated legislature four years ago.

The Republican bill OK’d in 2015 raised the amount of a construction project needed to trigger prevailing wage requirements from $100,000 to $250,000, while cutting the prevailing wage by 10 percent for public school and university projects.

The new legislation, Assembly Bill 136, changed both those standards back to what they were four years ago.

Assemblyman Skip Daly, D-Sparks, said the prevailing wage is designed to protect wages and work conditions and protect against unfair competition.

But Assemblyman Greg Hafen, R-Pahrump, argued AB136 will add millions to the cost of building public and charter schools. He said the fiscal notes put on the bill by school districts total some $35 million.

He was joined by Alexis Hansen, R-Sparks, who said it would add 25 percent to the cost of new schools.

The bill passed 28-12, with two members absent, and ordered to the Senate.

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Quote of
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“Needless to say, legislators should not be passing any law — let alone one that makes government less transparent — based on deception and misinformation.” Michael Schaus & ​​​​Robert Fellner,
Nevada Policy Research Institute

Lobbyist’s false testimony crucial in moving anti-transparency bill forward

Michael Schaus &
Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute

April 22, 2019

To justify the “PERS secrecy” bill, lobbyist Marlene Lockard relied almost entirely on known falsehoods in her official testimony to lawmakers.

Because state law makes it a crime to knowingly misrepresent any fact when testifying before a legislative committee, Nevada Policy recently filed a legal complaint with Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Rick Combs and the attorney general’s office.

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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April 23, 2019
23 Apr 2019

Political Update – April 23, 2019

 

Jamie Dimon’s Timely Warning 

A CEO finally speaks up to tell the truth about the shared misery of socialism.

Andy Kessler
The Wall Street Journal

April 21, 2019

Socialism is now woker than a two-for-one Che Guevara T-shirt sale, with Bernie Sanders leading the Democrats’ presidential primary polls and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dominating the party’s imagination. 

In a rare calling-out of this bogosity, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned shareholders this month that “socialism inevitably produces stagnation, corruption and often worse.” He was echoing Winston Churchill’s observation that socialism allows for “the equal sharing of misery.” Why is it only capable of generating misery?

Because under socialism, politics rather than productivity drives employment. Technological innovation is suppressed. Long ago, an Israeli explained to me that under socialism—Israel’s economic system until 1985—you would always hire two workers to do the job of one.

Of course, there is a spectrum of socialism. The textbook definition is government ownership of the means of production, as in the communist-run Soviet Union or Cuba, or the state-owned factories of China today. But socialism can also mean “owning” an industry by burying it in regulation (see education, Medicare, the overregulated auto industries and so on).

Socialists are modern-day Luddites, destroyers of technology to preserve jobs. Article 4 of the current postal-workers’ union (sweetheart) contract states that “any new job or jobs created by technological or mechanization changes shall be offered to present employees capable of being trained to perform the new or changed job.” It’s one reason, even with automation, we still have 500,000 postal workers when the right number is zero. Similarly, Detroit was slow to use robots. It’s only recently that United Auto Workers union contracts did away with job guarantees.

Workers at the Port of Oakland went on strike to protest the use of RFID tags on shipping containers because it would kill lucrative clipboard-toting jobs. Productivity be damned.

And that phantasmagoria, the Green New Deal? It’s a productivity pallbearer, with its federal job guarantees and a new mechanism to support those “unwilling to work.” Where do I sign up for that?

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Quote of
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“Socialism is about maximizing power, not maximizing profits. Government doesn’t make profits, has no incentive to show profits, wouldn’t know a profit if it hit it in the head. Inside government there are no markets or price mechanisms to act as a divining rod finding hidden productivity. Socialism handcuffs Adam Smith’s invisible hand.” Andy Kessler,
The Wall Street Journal 

EDITORIAL: Bad ideas abound in Carson City

Las Vegas Review-Journal

April 20, 2019

There are oodles of bad proposals still floating around Carson City, as lawmakers advance legislation through various deadlines. Some of the more destructive bills — allowing collective bargaining for state employees, gutting Read by 3 or throwing a shroud of secrecy over government pension payouts, for example — will continue to garner attention. But dozens of lower-profile measures would also be detrimental to the state and deserve to be euthanized.

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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April 16, 2019
16 Apr 2019

Political Update – April 16, 2019

 

Nevadans get low return on taxpayer investments, study finds 

Michael Carroll
Watchdog.org

April 10, 2019

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.

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“Nevada’s low taxpayer ROI is a direct result of the high taxes its residents pay, almost $4,000 per capita, without benefiting from quality government services.” Jill Gonzalez,
WalletHub Analyst 

Drive to $12 per hour: Minimum wage increase eyed by Nevada lawmakers

John Sadler
Las Vegas Sun

April 11, 2019

…Paul Moradkhan, vice president of government affairs for the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber conducted an internal survey that showed members said a minimum wage increase would hurt their business and could lead to reactions such as decreased hours for employees or increased costs for goods.

Laura Nowlan, executive director of the Nevada Hispanic Business Group, bemoaned the measure as further regulations on small businesses.

“We are, as small-business owners, the heartbeat of America, and so then as legislators making the decisions, you need to understand that if we are the heartbeat of America, the more regulations, fine and restrictions that you put out there for us, the harder it makes it for us to be able to help our economy,” she said.

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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April 9, 2019
09 Apr 2019

Political Update – April 9, 2019

EDITORIAL: Proposal could create PERS death spiral 

Las Vegas Review-Journal

April 6, 2019

Despite all the problems with its Public Employees’ Retirement System, Nevada has consistently done one thing right. It has re-evaluated and adjusted contribution rates every two years as needed. Unfortunately, that could be changing.

Assembly Bill 415, sponsored the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, would evaluate PERS contribution rates every six years instead of every two. That doesn’t sound like a big shift, but the implications would be far reaching.

PERS is a defined-benefit program. That means retirees receive their pensions based on a formula, not investment returns. Factors include years of service, highest salary over three years and cost-of-living adjustments. These pensions are supposed to be funded fully by employer and employee contributions and investment returns.

It hasn’t worked out that way. PERS doesn’t know how much it will need to pay out in future years, so it makes numerous assumptions about things such as mortality, inflation and investment returns. Making a small error today can lead to PERS not having enough money to cover future retirement payouts.

This matters because the government is backing these pensions. If PERS doesn’t have enough money saved, taxpayers are on the hook — and for far more than the original amount. That’s because money that should have been invested previously, but wasn’t, couldn’t generate income. Those returns are supposed to pay for 80 percent of pension costs.

Given this, it’s vital that pension contribution rates increase soon after the need is identified. PERS has a decadeslong record of underestimating how much it needs to fulfill its obligations. When PERS started in 1948, the total contribution rate was 5 percent on an employee’s first $400 in wages. Today, combined contribution rates are 28 percent for regular employees and 40.5 percent for police and fire employees. On July 1, those rates will increase to 29.25 percent and 42.5 percent, respectively.

That increase is going to cost government agencies more and decrease government employee pay. When politicians have to spend money on pensions, they have less money for more high-profile items, such as raises for teachers. Paying pension contributions is the fiscal equivalent of taking your medicine. No one likes to do it, but it’s better than the alternative.

*NEW*

Quote of
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Quote:

“This matters because the government is backing these pensions. If PERS doesn’t have enough money saved, taxpayers are on the hook — and for far more than the original amount.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal
April 6, 2019

Nevada eyes collective bargaining for state workers

Ryan Tarinelli
Associated Press
Nevada Appeal

April 4, 2019

For decades, enacting collective bargaining for state workers has remained an elusive goal of supportive Nevada lawmakers. But Democrats this session appear poised to make it a reality, with strong majorities in both legislative chambers and the first Democratic governor in two decades.

“It’s an inequality that needs to be corrected and it’s long overdue,” said Harry Schiffman, a worker advocate and electrician at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

A state Senate bill that would give certain state workers the right to collectively bargain will face its first legislative panel Thursday in Carson City.

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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April 2, 2019
02 Apr 2019

Political Update – April 2, 2019

 

Senate Democrats seek 150 percent pay hike 

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 26, 2019

A proposal to create annual legislative sessions would also increase lawmaker pay by 150 percent. Don’t expect supporters to highlight that part.

For decades, some Nevada politicians have tried to establish annual legislative sessions. The latest effort, Senate Joint Resolution 5, is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday afternoon. Nevada’s constitution limits the Legislature to a single 120-day regular session every two years. Nevada, Texas, Montana and North Dakota are the four states with biennial legislative sessions.

That’s not the only thing the constitution limits. It says politicians can receive pay for only the first 60 days of a regular session. They currently make around $150 a day. Over 60 days, that’s $9,000. They also collect $142 in per diem throughout the whole session. Most politicians have to pay for lodging in Carson City and travel expenses, which means they can’t just pocket that money. The combined total tops $26,000 for four months.

Most legislators don’t like working and not getting paid, which is understandable. But it’s politically dangerous to advocate paying yourself more.

Under the guise of creating annual session, SJR5 would do exactly that. The proposed constitutional amendment would create a 90-day legislative session each odd-numbered year and a 60-day session every even-numbered year. It would also eliminate the constitutional prohibition on paying legislators for more than 60 days during a regular session.

If passed, the Legislature would go from meeting 120 days to 150 days every two years. Politicians, however, would go from being paid for 60 days to 150 days every two years. That would be a 150 percent pay hike. It could be even more. The amendment says legislators shall receive compensation “at regular intervals determined by law.” As a constitutional amendment, SJR5 would have to pass the Legislature this session and in 2021. Voters would get the final say in 2022.

SJR5 isn’t a fringe effort, either. It’s sponsored by 10 of the 13 members of the Senate Democratic caucus. Many of those senators are in safe districts, but not all of them. Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, is a sponsor and up for election next year. It’s going to be hard to beat the sitting majority leader, but she’s handed her GOP opponent a potent political attack. She won by just 2 percentage points in 2016. Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop, D-Las Vegas, who won by 3 percent last year, is also a co-sponsor. Republicans should bring this issue up if she runs for re-election in 2022.

*NEW*

Quote of
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“If legislators don’t want to work without pay, there’s already a solution available. Cut back on the number of bills each lawmaker can propose, finish the work in 60 days and adjourn.”

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 26, 2019

EDITORIAL: Rising pensions costs are crippling school districts

Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 31, 2019

Nevada isn’t the only state in which rising pension costs are pinching school district budgets.

California’s districts are struggling to deal with per-pupil pension costs that have doubled in just four years. That’s according to a new report by the nonprofit EdSource.

In 2013-14, California’s average pension contributions per student was $506. That shot up to $1,020 last year — and it’s heading higher. In 2014, the combined contribution rate for California school districts was 21.5 percent of teacher pay. Last year it was 33.8 percent. In 2022-23, it will have soared to 40 percent. As those numbers go up, the amount available for everything else goes down.

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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March 26, 2019
26 Mar 2019

Political Update – March 26, 2019

 

CCSD using taxpayer resources to promote teachers union’s agenda 

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 21, 2019

The Clark County School District has been using taxpayer resources to advance the political agenda of the teachers union.

The Clark County Education Association wants additional education funding. It has launched an online petition to pressure politicians in Carson City. That’s normal, even if there’s a decades-long record of more funding not increasing student achievement.

What shouldn’t be normal is the district promoting that effort. Yet, on at least two occasions, the district has done exactly that.

On Dec. 6, Kelly Carque, the assistant principal at Palo Verde High School, sent an email to every parent at the school. “If you would like to support efforts to provide additional funding to our schools, please visit the following website,” her email read. The website was CCEA’s petition for more funding.

Carque even attached CCEA’s talking points and demands. The district provided Carque’s email in response to a public records request.

Ironically, the district spent years in court arguing that the work emails of teachers weren’t public information. Yet, an assistant principal is able to spam the private emails of parents to push the district’s preferred political agenda.

This wasn’t a one-off event either. On Tuesday, Culley Elementary School had the union’s propaganda on its website. It linked to the union’s petition and told parents to RSVP for an upcoming union rally.

After I asked about it, the graphic promoting the union’s political advocacy disappeared.

“This content has been removed from the website,” Kirsten Searer, the district’s chief communications officer, emailed.

She refused to say how many district schools are using district resources to advertise for the union’s cause. She also declined to share whether the district plans to take any action to stop such behavior.

This is another instance in the district’s long pattern of leveraging its taxpayer resources to advocate for more funding.

In 2012, the school district wanted voters to approve a tax hike for school construction. Every School Board member had district employees send emails encouraging parents to support the measure. District lobbyist Joyce Haldeman authorized school district employees to pick up campaign literature. The toothless Nevada Commission on Ethics found they each committed violations, but the panel barely slapped their hands.

*NEW*

Quote of
the week

 


Quote:

“Through ethical means or not, the school district usually has been successful in increasing funding. If only it was as successful in increasing student achievement.”

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal
March 21, 2019

Teachers union pushes dedicated funding source for salaries

April Corbin
Nevada Current

March 25, 2019

When Gov. Steve Sisolak promised educators a 3 percent raise during his state-of-the-state speech, some teachers couldn’t help but wonder: Would that money ever reach their paychecks? Or would the money be diverted elsewhere?

It’s happened before.

Teachers within Clark County School District are supposed to be able to look toward the salary schedule negotiated by their collective bargaining agent, Clark County Education Association. It lays out salary increases based off length of employment (“steps”) and levels of professional development (“columns”). Step increases equate to about a 2 percent raise. Column advancement results in larger raises but requires significantly more work, typically in the form of advanced degrees or professional development courses.

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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March 25, 2019
25 Mar 2019

Political Update – March 19, 2019

 

The prevailing wage is a rip off. Here are the numbers to prove it. 

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 12, 2019

CARSON CITY — For decades, fiscal watchdogs have contended that prevailing wage mandates increase infrastructure costs. Now Nevada governments are saying the same thing.

When a private company embarks upon a major capital project, it solicits bids. Its goal is to find someone who will meet its construction standards at the best price. It doesn’t care if a company uses fewer higher paid workers or more lower paid workers. It’s just interested in the bottom line.

Not so in government. Nevada government requires that the workers on most government construction projects receive union-wage rates, called the prevailing wage. A Nevada Policy Research Institute study found that those wage rates are around 45 percent higher than market rates.

This doesn’t make economic sense for taxpayers, which is why Republicans passed a bill during the 2015 session that modified Nevada’s prevailing wage law. They raised the threshold at which prevailing wage requirements were triggered for public projects from $100,000 to $250,000. They also allowed school districts and colleges to pay 90 percent of the prevailing wage. It would have been preferable for Republicans to have eliminated the prevailing wage altogether, but, alas, former Gov. Brian Sandoval should have done a lot of things differently.

Now Democrats are seeking to overturn even those minor reforms. Every Assembly Democrat is co-sponsoring Assembly Bill 136. It would lower the prevailing wage threshold from $250,000 to $100,000 and require schools, colleges and charter schools to pay the full prevailing wage. The bill came out of committee on Monday.

Requiring higher wages for construction projects increases costs. That’s obvious to anyone not receiving union campaign contributions. It’s also the conclusion of numerous government agencies that looked at how this would affect their budgets. The Clark County School District projects the changes will cost it $7.5 million a year. The Nevada System of Higher Education estimates an extra $9 million a year in expenses.

That’s just the cost of raising the prevailing wage from 90 percent to 100 percent. The NPRI study found the market wage rate is 69 percent of the prevailing wage rate. If it had been legal for the school district to pay the market wage rate, it would have had an extra $15 million a year to spend on construction. Nevada’s higher education institutions would have had an extra $18 million a year. Both numbers are compared to paying 90 percent of the prevailing wage, not the 100 percent Democrats prefer.

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To get a sense of just how inflated these [prevailing wage] mandated rates are, NPRI analyzed the 2017 prevailing wage rates for 14 job categories in Clark County, which accounted for more than half of all construction employment that year.

The prevailing wage ranged from 14 percent above the market wage for roofers, to a staggering 109 percent above the market wage for glaziers. On a weighted basis, the average Clark County prevailing wage was 56 percent greater than the market wage.

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute
March 11, 2019

Support for prevailing wage undermines Dem opposition to Opportunity Scholarships

Robert Fellner
Nevada Policy Research Institute

March 11, 2019

…Specifically, Assembly Democrats recently introduced AB 136, which schools estimate will cost them $25 million over the next biennium. If the fiscal note from NSHE is included, that amount rises to $43.5 million.

This added cost reflects AB 136’s increase in the so-called “prevailing wage” requirement, which mandates that union workers be paid significantly above-market rates when working on school construction projects.

To get a sense of just how inflated these mandated rates are, NPRI analyzed the 2017 prevailing wage rates for 14 job categories in Clark County, which accounted for more than half of all construction employment that year.

The prevailing wage ranged from 14 percent above the market wage for roofers, to a staggering 109 percent above the market wage for glaziers. On a weighted basis, the average Clark County prevailing wage was 56 percent greater than the market wage.

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