American Dream

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


Earlier this week, another Presidential candidate made his way to Nevada, and, during a speech in Reno, warned about the American Dream slipping away.

“People are starting to believe that the American Dream is starting to slip from their reach,” Sen. Marco Rubio reportedly told a crowd of 500. “And you know what? If we keep doing what we are doing, that is exactly what will happen.”

As I read his warnings, I couldn’t help but think of Victor Fuentes, a man who is already seeing his American Dream slip away, unfortunately at the hands of the federal government. Just a day before Rubio spoke in Reno, the Las Vegas Sun featured Victor and his case, which is being fought by NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation.

The feature — which I encourage you to take a few minutes to read — tells the story of a man who swam seven miles to escape the tyranny of Cuba, sought asylum in the United States and eventually purchased a camp for his church in the Nevada desert. He had achieved what immigrants and natural-born citizens all hope for.

Now, that American Dream he’s worked for over 20 years to achieve has all but been destroyed by the Fish & Wildlife Service.

In 2010, acting contrary to the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution, the federal government rerouted a spring-fed stream that ran through the church’s private property since at least 1881, moving it just outside the property line. On Christmas Eve and after the first significant rainfall, the stream returned to its historical path and the ensuing flooding damaged the church camp to the tune of $86,000. And, since the stream was moved off the property, Victor and his church, Ministerio Roca Solida (Solid Rock), are unable to baptize people in the stream’s waters at their Patch of Heaven camp.

The case, which is being fought in courts here in Nevada and a portion of which could be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, raises several important questions: Is it OK for the federal government to take a person’s property (in this case, water) without due process? In violating a person’s Constitutional rights, may the federal government also cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage without compensation? May the federal government prevent its people from carrying out their religion?

The case is important for all Americans and it’s precisely why the CJCL took on this case years ago. If the federal government is allowed to prevail in this case, not only will one man’s American Dream be forever destroyed, but a dangerous precedent will be set that chips away at others’ hopes of achieving the American Dream as well.

The American Dream is something worth fighting for and with the support of people like you who are willing to stand up to unconstitutional acts by the government, it will continue to be something Americans work to achieve for generations to come.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


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Margin tax vs. commerce tax: same fundamentals, different particulars

There has been much debate over the differences between and similarities of the margin tax and the newly imposed commerce tax, especially with efforts to repeal the commerce tax underway.

The two taxes are fundamentally the same — they are both gross receipts taxes. There are only so many categories of taxes, for instance: sales tax, property tax, personal income tax, corporate income tax and gross receipt taxes. 

Although commerce tax supporters don’t like labeling the commerce tax as a modified version of the margin tax, even they acknowledge that it is a gross receipts tax.

As gross receipt taxes, both taxes have many structural things in common, outlined well by the Tax Foundation.

1. Both have a simple structure: Tax gross receipts
2. Tax business sales over the selected threshold
3. Apply to almost all transactions 
4. Create tax pyramiding issues

Instead, what supporters of the commerce tax focus on what makes the margin and commerce taxes different types of gross receipts taxes.

And there are differences on the particulars of the margin tax and the commerce tax.

1. The tax rate: 2 percent vs. 27 different rates
2. The tax floor: $1 million vs. $4 million
3. How affiliated group is defined
4. What does and doesn't count as revenue

It’s a bit like asking if baseball and softball are similar or not. You can point to many differences in particulars — the size of the ball, length between bases and how pitches are thrown — but it’s easy to see that softball has more in common with baseball than with sports like football, tennis or basketball.

 

A new idea for energy: Let markets work

Last week, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid had his annual green energy summit. The keynote speaker was President Barack Obama who stated, “For decades we've been told it doesn't make economic sense to switch to renewable energy. Today that's no longer true.”

That sounds wonderful, right? The implication is that government is no longer going to pick winners and losers in the energy marketplace; instead they’re going to let businesses compete on their merits. If only that was true. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s report on the summit:

[Obama’s] almost 30-minute speech came on the heels of executive actions aimed at increasing green energy use — and solar power in particular — across the nation. They include $1 billion in additional federal loan guarantees for renewable projects and another $10 billion in loan guarantees for so-called distributed energy projects such as micro-power stations and rooftop solar arrays, according to White House advance materials.

The Department of Energy is also paving the way for states and state-affiliated "green banks" to loan money for green energy projects, while the Federal Housing Administration will provide FHA-backed loans to finance home energy projects. ...

The president began his speech by touting previous green energy initiatives launched by his administration to combat climate change, spur innovation and create jobs.

"Now is not the time to pull back on these investments," he said.

Here’s an observation. If the government has to offer loan guarantees on top of tax credits and rebates to get consumers to use a product, that product doesn’t make economic sense on its own.

With that perspective, let’s examine the two major energy debates Nevada is facing: Net-metering and NV Energy’s new rate case.

Chuck Muth has a great explanation on net-metering here, but basically the government provides the previously listed financial incentives to lower the cost of purchasing the solar panels, and then forces NV Energy to pay homeowners a certain rate for the excess solar that they generate.

Installers of rooftop solar panels want NV Energy to pay homeowners 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour generated by rooftop solar panels. NV Energy wants to pay homeowners 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

The other issue is the rate case NV Energy has submitted to regulators. The Daily Caller News Foundation reports that NV Energy’s rate plan seems to be designed to create the need to build a new power plant. As NPRI has noted previously noted, as a regulated monopoly, NV Energy’s financial interests don’t always align with the financial interests of consumers.

As a regulated monopoly, NV Energy is guaranteed a return on equity of 10.5
percent. It is from this return on equity that NV Energy’s shareholders derive their
profits.

This regulatory structure gives NV Energy and similarly regulated utilities a
perverse incentive: It financially rewards them if they can get state lawmakers to
impose on them more costly and inefficient production methods.

The math is simple: If the utility is required to produce through more costly means
and shareholder profits are guaranteed as a percentage of those costs, then
shareholders make more money by producing less efficiently. Ratepayers — facing a
private, yet government‐enforced monopoly — have no choice among providers and
so are effectively forced to pay the higher rates that result.

The problem isn’t that one side is right or wrong in either of these debates. The problem is the system is broken and needs to be fixed by eliminating government mandates and monopolies.

If you’re a consumer and you want to buy power from a company that freely pays you 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour for rooftop solar — and such a company exists — you should be able to do that. If you’re a consumer and you don’t want your power company paying 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour for your neighbor’s rooftop solar, because you think it’ll increase your costs, you should be able to do that.

If you want to pay more for power generated from “green” sources, you should be able to do that. If you want to buy cheap and reliable power from coal, you should be able to do that. That’s how energy deregulation has worked in Texas where companies advertise not only their rates, but the amount of energy produced by renewable sources.

When consumers can make these decisions, there are many different decisions made, because individual consumers value competing priorities differently. But when the system forces regulators to make a single, binding decision, there will always be winners and losers and unintended system-wide consequences.

Or in the wise words of the rap-version of F.A. Hayek:

Let prices work.
If we don't try to steer them,
They won't go berserk.

 

Employee freedom

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


Four years ago, our NPRI team did something that seemed small. We told Clark County School District teachers that they could opt out of union membership and when and how to do so.

What we didn’t know then was that our initial efforts would blossom into a nationwide movement called National Employee Freedom Week that is spearheaded by NPRI.

What we found in 2011 is that hundreds of teachers already wanted to leave the Clark County Education Association. They simply didn’t know they could or when and how to do so.

When NPRI told them, union membership dropped by over 800 teachers, and teachers got to keep over $630,000 of their own money out of the hands of union officials. Since 2011, NPRI’s in-state information campaign has continued, and in total, we’ve helped over 2,100 teachers and support staff workers opt out of membership in the Nevada State Education Association. Combined, those workers have taken over $3 million that would have gone to union bosses and kept it for their families.

NPRI realized that if that many union members in one school district in just one state wanted out of their union that there must be hundreds of thousands, if not millions of union members who also wanted to leave. They either didn’t know they could leave or when and how to do so.

So, we created a campaign to tell them — National Employee Freedom Week. Running from August 16 to 22 this year, NEFW is a week for groups all around the country to tell folks in their circles of influence that they can opt out of union membership.

In 2013, we had 65 groups join in. In 2014, we had 81 groups. This year, we had 102 groups from around the nation join in National Employee Freedom Week.

These groups spread the message from coast to coast, including over a dozen op-eds in newspapers like the Oregonian, Washington Times, Boston Herald and The Hill. There were radio interviews in states like Washington and Illinois. More importantly, there are currently 10 groups around the country running information campaigns letting specific union workers know about their ability to opt out and when and how to do so. NPRI has worked with most of those groups sharing what we did and have learned.

We estimate that these campaigns will cost union officials over $10 million in the next year. That’s $10 million they can’t spend on politics, paying themselves lavish salaries or attacking real education reform like Nevada’s Education Savings Accounts.

And it all started with NPRI four years ago.

Happy National Employee Freedom Week and thank you for helping us empower workers to opt out of union membership.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


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Clarification on ESAs

What we know now about the new program

Dear Friend,

For the past month, there has been much information released regarding Nevada’s education savings account program. As new updates come out, following changes to previously released information can be confusing. I hope this email will bring some clarity on the current status of the ESA program.

Applications

The Treasurer has implemented an early application period, which started August 3rd and will continue through November 30, 2015. The applications are here. Please make sure you sign, date, fill in all boxes and include all paperwork.

There are a few things you should know before sending in your early applications.

First, the 100 consecutive days of public school enrollment criteria must be met before submitting your application. Submitting an application prior to fulfilling 100 days in a public school will not serve as a place holder.

Next, once the Treasurer’s Office stamps your fully completed application “received,” the office will count backwards 100 consecutive school days, including school days in the 2014-15 school year. There will not be a one-time exception allowing attendance at any time during the 2014-15 school year. You must have been enrolled in a public school for the 100 consecutive school days immediately preceding the application.

The Treasurer has advised that if your child attends one day in a private school before this application is received by the office, he or she would no longer have 100 consecutive school days immediately preceding the date of the application. Thus, per SB302, your child would no longer be eligible to use any previous school days from the 2014-2015 school year.

 As of this week, the Treasurer’s Office reports that it is taking two weeks to complete an application intake. Remember, you must be enrolled in your public school seat when the count begins — the application “received” date!

Additionally, the Treasurer asks that you include all paperwork with your application, including income verification when applicable and evidence for any 15 day absence waiver.

The 15 day absence rule resets the 100 day clock if a student has 15 consecutive school days absent during the 100 school days prior to application. If extenuating circumstances exist, like an illness, an accident, a death in family or disability issues, the Treasurer will review on a case-by-case basis. The absences may or may not be waived, depending on individual circumstances. Be sure to submit evidence of extenuating circumstances with the application.

At this time, the treasurer’s office expects funding will be distributed during the first week of April 2016. If funding begins sooner, parents will be notified at the email address they placed on the application. Don’t forget to put a valid email on each application.

Here is the schedule for next year’s open enrollment and corresponding funding dates:

Open Enrollment Periods for 2016               Estimated Account Funding Dates

January 4 – February 29, 2016                       First week of April 2016

April 1 – May 31, 2016                                    First week of July 2016

July 1 – August 31, 2016                                First week of October 2016

October 1 – November 30, 2016                    First week of January 2017

Kindergarten and students under age 7 years

As of yet, there has been no official direction on eligibility for Kindergarteners or children under age 7. This is a question to be clarified through the regulatory process.

Some camps interpret SB302, the bill creating ESAs, to mean kindergartners are automatically eligible and do not need to meet the 100 day rule. Others interpret the bill to say no children under age 7 are eligible for ESAs. Still others interpret SB302 as saying kindergartners and other children under age 7 are eligible but must meet the 100 day enrollment criteria first.

Without clear direction, the Treasurer’s office has recommended parents submit an early application in any case. The applications will be placed into a pending status until the regulatory process has concluded. At which time, the applications will proceed according to final regulation. The safest thing to do is to make sure your child has 100 consecutive days in public schools, including charter and virtual public schools.

Online charter schools

Last week, the Treasurer’s Office released a notice from the Nevada Department of Education advising, “a private school or home school student may not participate in a program of distance education or online class to satisfy the 100 school day requirement.” Previously, the Treasurer stated that partial enrollment, one class or more, in an online school could be used to meet the 100 day rule. This inconsistency has many parents seeking clarification.

Current Nevada law doesn’t allow a private school or home schooled student to enroll part-time in an online school, so that will not an option to meet the 100 school-day enrollment requirement. However, partial enrollment, meaning taking one class or more, in a traditional or brick-and-mortar district or charter school will count towards the 100 day enrollment requirement.

Full-time enrollment in an online district or charter school will also satisfy the 100 day enrollment requirement.

It is important to note that eligibility through partial enrollment will result in a pro-rated funding allotment. For how long and at what rate is yet to be determined.

Regulatory Process

As evidenced by the Department of Education notice, it is important for families to understand Nevada’s ESA program is in a state of flux as it advances through the regulatory process. While the Treasurer is committed to proposing regulations, proposed regulations are online here, which are expansive and reflect legislative intent, things are subject to change until regulations have been adopted in final form by the Legislative Commission.

This is why it is important to have your voice heard at the upcoming August 21 Regulations Workshop at 9 a.m.:

Legislative Building               Grant Sawyer State Office Building

Suite 4100                               Suite 4401

401 S. Carson Street               555 E. Washington Avenue

Carson City, NV                     Las Vegas, NV

I hope this email helps bring some clarity and please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Karen

 

Online classes no longer a path to ESA eligibility for private and home school families

Late last week, the Treasurer's office issued the statement below changing its guidance on how families with students in private school or who are homeschooling can become eligible for ESAs.

Current private school and home school students are no longer able to satisfy the 100-day requirement by taking one online class. That is because state law doesn't allow current private school and home school parents to enroll in online public schools. Students are able to gain full eligibility by enrolling full-time in a public school, including charter and virtual schools.

The full statement is below, but the situation is still fluid. We will keep you up to date. If you have any questions, please contact me at kg@npri.org.

State Treasurer’s Office Clarifies ESA Eligibility

(Carson City, NV) – The Treasurer's Office has been notified by the Nevada Department of Education that pursuant to NRS 388.850, a private school or “home school” student may not participate in a program of distance education (online class) to satisfy the 100 school day requirement. Nevada Revised Statute 388.850 prevents a private school or “home school” student from enrolling in a program of distance education (online class).

However, a private school or “home school” student may qualify for an ESA by taking one or more classes in a public or charter school, pursuant to NRS 386.580(5) and 392.070(3).

“This is not the outcome we had proposed,” said Grant Hewitt, Treasurer’s Chief of Staff. “With school starting in just a few days, we want to ensure that parents had clarity on the issue. We hope that the Legislature addresses this issue in an upcoming legislative session so students can qualify for an ESA though a program of distance education while still attending their primary education choice,” Hewitt said.

In an online note, State Treasurer Dan Schwartz added, "We're still pleased that prospective ESA account holders may satisfy the 100 school day requirement by enrolling in one (or more) courses at a public or charter school. And, of course, Nevadans are still encouraged to voice their opinions at our upcoming August 21 Workshop."

 

Debate watching

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


Like millions of other Americans, last night I tuned into Fox News and watched the first of many 2016 presidential debates.

Assuming you follow politics and know some of the history between the candidates, there was plenty of clash and one-liners to keep it entertaining. I’m already looking forward to the second debate, but you and I know that selecting the next president of the United States isn’t just about who can deliver a good speech (see Obama, Barack). 

Here are some of the issues that I’ll be watching for in both the Republican and Democratic debates.

1.  Entitlement reform. It only got a passing mention in the last night’s debate, but the math is obvious. Spending on entitlements is bankrupting our country. Who is willing to acknowledge that and then do something about it? 

2. Federalism. One of the things that historically made our country great is that states have been free to pursue their own plans in many areas, like education and health care. Sometimes states even have policies that contradict each other.

 This isn’t a flaw in our system; it’s a feature! States were meant to make numerous policy decisions based on the desires of the state’s citizens. One benefit of this is that state policymakers can see what’s working and what isn’t, instead of being given mandates from Washington D.C.

The presidential field includes a number of governors with impressive track records. What’s important to see is candidates acknowledge that the role of president is different than being a governor. For instance, you and I know that universal school choice is an amazing school reform, but that doesn’t mean the federal government should impose school choice on the states. The federal government should get out of K-12 education entirely.

3. Federal lands. One of the reasons that farm subsidies still persist today is that candidates go to Iowa, which holds the first presidential caucus and pledge their support for farm subsidies in order to increase their popularity with Iowans.

With Nevada’s presidential primary caucus being the fourth in the country, Nevada is being inundated with presidential candidates seeking your vote. Instead of asking for a special handout, we encourage you to ask candidates from both parties for their position on federal land issues.

As you may know, the federal government owns over 85 percent of Nevada’s land and 30 to 57 percent of the land in each state that includes or is West of the Rocky Mountains.

The federal government should put Nevada on an equal footing with the rest of the country and give our state back our land.

In just under eighteen months, one of those candidates visiting Nevada today will have the ability to do just that. Let’s get them all on the record now.

What issues are you watching for? I’d love to know. Please shoot me an email, and I’ll publish some of the responses next week.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President

 


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ESA regulations released: Make your voice heard

It's an exciting time for Nevada's education saving account program! Things are just moving along.  Last week, the Treasurer released an early application and today, the much anticipated proposed regulations have been posted on the Treasurer's website! The Treasurer has also announced another workshop.  Public input regarding the newly posted proposed regulations will take place on Friday, August 21, 2015 at 9:00 A.M.  

 

Please visit here for a copy of the regulations. 

 

The Treasurer’s office encourages you to provide your suggestions in writing by 5:00 PM on Wednesday, August 19, 2015. All written comments will be placed in the official record. Written and oral communications will also be accepted at the time of the meeting.  Written comments can be submitted to nevadaschoolchoice@nevadatreasurer.gov

 

July's ESA workshop was very well attended. And, I will say, in my 20+ years attending public meetings, it was the best meeting I've ever witnessed.  Public participation was through the roof and the meeting ran smoothly with everyone being heard!

 

Therefore, I would again suggest submitting lengthy comments in writing prior to the meeting, followed by a brief 2-3 minute oral summation at the August 21st meeting.

 

The Friday, August 21, 2015 at 9 A.M. workshop will be conducted via video conference:

 

Legislative Building                                      Grant Sawyer State Office Building

Suite 4100                                                      Suite 4401

410 S. Carson Street                                      555 E. Washington Avenue

Carson City, Nevada                                      Las Vegas, Nevada

 

As word of the ESA program spreads, our database of interested parents and community members grows.  Welcome to our new list members!  To ensure everyone is up to date, here is a brief recap of important updates on the ESA program.

 

Last week, the Treasurer released an early application form for ESAs here.

There are a couple of important things to note. First, even though the application is available now, the funding for the ESAs will not be available until 2016. Currently, the accounts will not be funded until April 2016.

Second, the eligibility requirements have not changed. Students must have been enrolled in Nevada public schools, which includes charter schools, for 100 consecutive school days before they are eligible.  Your child must meet this requirement before submitting an application.

Additionally, the Treasurer's office has asked that parents please include an email contact on the application. 

 

In addition to the current early application period, Nevada’s ESA program will have quarterly open enrollment and funding periods. This allows parents to make decisions at any time during the year on the best educational opportunity for their child. The chart below outlines when parents can enroll their child in Nevada’s ESA program and the corresponding funding date for those accounts:

 

Open Enrollment Periods for 2016             Estimated Account Funding Dates

January 4 – February 29, 2016                    First week of April 2016

April 1 – May 31, 2016                               First week of July 2016

July 1 – August 31, 2016                             First week of October 2016

October 1 – November 30, 2016                 First week of January 2017

 

Freedom and happiness

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


A new study released this week confirms something many of you — if not all of you — already know:

Freedom makes people happy.

In fact, freedom is more important to a person’s happiness than that person’s age, income or even employment status, according to the study by the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank. Using data from the World Values Survey, European Values Studies and the think tank’s own Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report, researchers found that the world’s most economically free countries are also its happiest.

Besides the inherent value of living in a country that is economically free, the researchers found that individuals who believe they have more control over their own lives — something that accompanies economic freedom — are more satisfied.

This study validates what we at NPRI, and all of you who are friends of the Institute, work so hard for on a daily basis. Whether through keeping the public informed of how government is spending money through TransparentNevada.com; studying the impact of collective bargaining on government budgets; analyzing the health of Nevada’s public employee pension system; or sharing the value of parental choice in education, we believe the more freedom people have to live their lives as they wish, the happier and more prosperous they will be.

Earlier this month, Nevada students and businesses gained more freedom as scholarship organizations began participating in the Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship program. As explained by NPRI’s Executive Vice President, Victor Joecks, this new school choice and business tax-credit program — though somewhat overshadowed by Nevada ESAs — is sure to make Nevada students, families, business owners and communities happier.

Under the new program, created by AB165, businesses are now able to receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits for funding scholarships that will assist qualifying low-income students in attending private schools that will help nurture them into the educated, capable leaders Nevada needs to have a more successful tomorrow.

Announced this week is that early applications for Nevada’s ESA program — which will allow any student who has been in public school at least 100 days immediately prior to applying for an ESA to receive at least $5,100 a year for non-public school education — are now available. The early applications, according to the Nevada Treasurer, will allow students who spent last year in public school to move into private or other non-public classrooms at the beginning of the upcoming school year and still be eligible to receive ESA monies in 2016.

The United States, according to the Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, ranks number 12 when it comes to economic freedom. What really disturbs me is that Canada, the country I was born and raised in, has surpassed the United States for several years.

One of the reasons I’m most excited to be back at NPRI is to help change that, and Nevada’s school choice programs are key in those efforts.

As Nevada families begin to use these new choice programs and other states witness our successes, I know we can continue to push the needle forward and make the U.S. a freer and happier place to live.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


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Opportunities

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


Back in 2011, during my first tenure as NPRI president, I remember going to San Francisco for a conference intended to spark interest in the school choice movement.

I remember thinking then about how, if just given the chance to go to an exceptional school, children in low-income communities could grow up to be entrepreneurs and leaders and break the cycle of poverty in their family. I thought about the students with disabilities who could benefit from a variety of services offered outside the public school system, if only their family had the ability to choose those support services. And I thought about the high-achieving students who could reach their full potential if given the opportunity to be challenged in the classroom rather than stuck.

Bringing true school choice to Nevada families has been one of NPRI’s top priorities for much of its 24-year-long history and has long been a personal passion of mine. Like many of you, I closely followed NPRI’s efforts to expand school choice in Nevada closely this past Legislative Session, and I celebrated when I read Gov. Sandoval signed into law SB302 to create the nation’s first near-universal Education Savings Accounts program.

So, when I was approached by NPRI about returning to the Institute, I couldn’t think of a more exciting time to come back. While the challenges presented by a burgeoning government, constant demands to raise taxes, and unsustainable pension and collective bargaining systems are immense, the opportunities for those of us who believe in the value and promise of freedom have never been greater.

I was reminded of that this week when I met some of NPRI’s supporters for the first time and reconnected with old friends in northern Nevada. It was encouraging to see the excitement over the fact that Nevada is leading the nation when it comes to school choice, but I think we’ve only scratched the surface in terms of the impact this program will have on turning people into lovers and defenders of freedom.

We got a taste of that last week, when hundreds of parents showed up to testify at a hearing regarding the regulations of Nevada’s new Education Savings Accounts program. NPRI’s Managing Vice President Steven Miller, who has been covering Nevada politics for two decades, said he’d never seen parents line up along the walls and spill into multiple overflow rooms at a regulatory meeting.

And on Saturday, we saw something similar when over 300 people attended the first of what will be many public events NPRI will hold to share information about how Nevada students are now eligible to receive at least $5,100 a year to be used to fund private school tuition, home-based education, online schooling, tutoring and more.

Parents are tired of having no say in their child’s education and they’re jumping at the chance to have a real choice and a real chance to put their child in an environment in which they can thrive.

In January, my predecessor, Andy Matthews, announced NPRI’s top priority for 2015 was providing solutions to help Nevada students finally get the education they deserve so they can achieve success for a lifetime. The Institute spent much of the Legislative Session advocating for the method we know will accomplish this —Education Savings Accounts — and fortunately for Nevada students, lawmakers agreed.

Now that we have ESAs, the real (and fun) work begins! I’m happy to assure you that furthering educational freedom will continue to be NPRI’s top priority for the foreseeable future because we know that the first step to creating a prosperous Nevada is to give parents the freedom to choose the educational environment that best suits their child.

We’ll soon be announcing new ways we plan to connect with and inform the public, and our citizen engagement coordinator, Karen Gray, is talking to parents and community groups daily about how they can exercise their new choice.

Next Friday — on what would have been the 103rd birthday Milton Friedman, father of the school choice movement — NPRI will host its next public event to provide information on the ESA program. If you’re in Las Vegas, I encourage you to come by our office and learn a little more about what SB302 means for your family and friends. I’d love to meet you for the first time or see you again.

For those of you reading this letter from outside Las Vegas, stay tuned for events in your area, and please feel free to introduce yourself by phone or email. I look forward to meeting new friends though NPRI, reconnecting with old ones, and working with you all to make Nevada a freer and more prosperous state.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


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