In case you missed it...

Government regulation:

The taxicab union is lobbying lawmakers in hopes that the state will begin to crack down on ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. Among other things, the union is pushing for regulations and restrictions that would essentially kill many of the features that make ride-sharing companies so attractive to consumers. For example, the union wants to impose a minimum “wait time” for pickups — meaning companies would be required to wait at least 10 minutes before picking up customers who have requested a ride. The union also wants lawmakers to prohibit “excessively low” pricing. (Read more)

 

Education:

Traditionally, Nevada lawmakers have been extremely reluctant to expand educational choice within the Silver State. Compared to Colorado or Arizona, for example, Nevada’s charter school program is positively anemic. And yet, strangely, the National Association of Charter School Authorities ranks Nevada highly. According to Matthew Ladner with Education News, the reason for this disparity is likely because NACSA’s rating seems “overly concerned with bureaucratic compliance rather than performance.” (Read more)

 

Asset forfeiture:

In 2009, the local police department in Tewksbury, Massachusetts used a federal rule to seize the property of a privately owned inn without even having to file criminal charges against its owners. Ostensibly, the seizure was part of the department’s crackdown on illegal drug operations. But that explanation didn’t make much sense to the owners of the Caswell Inn, given that a nearby motel was notorious for drug dealing and prostitution — and yet had remained untouched by authorities. When the owner asked a police official why they had targeted the inn instead of the seedy motel, the answer was brutally honest: the Caswell Inn was worth more money. (Read more)

 

Socialism:

“Democratic socialism” is a concept that has been increasing in popularity in America — particularly among younger voters. These voters describe socialism as some sort of utopian system, where poverty, hunger and even sickness are practically a thing of the past. Meanwhile, in countries that are actually afflicted by these policies, the public has a very different opinion. Ami Horowitz recently filmed a documentary in Venezuela to expose the horrors brought on by such policies. When asked what she thought about America’s admiration for socialism, one woman — waiting in line for several hours just to receive paltry rations — warned, “don’t commit to that madness.” (Read more)

 

Classical liberalism:

The problem with modern politics isn’t necessarily that different factions have competing concepts of governance — it’s that we’ve lost sight of the classical liberalism that gave rise to such astounding prosperity and progress. And it’s no wonder we’ve lost sight of it. Nearly every political faction has corrupted and manipulated classical liberalism to suit its own hunger for power and control. (Read more)

 

 

A note from the president

I am so grateful.

Grateful because I just walked into the Nevada Policy Research Institute from a gorgeous 70-degree Nevada day. Grateful to work with the most motivated, intelligent, passionate-about-freedom, doing-what-is-right, people I have ever met.

Why should you be grateful?

You live in this beautiful state and have NPRI’s brilliant staff working long hours fighting to preserve your rights and freedoms. You still do not have to pay state income taxes and have more freedoms than most states.

I have moved with my wife over 2000 miles to be a part of something bigger than myself. To help this exceptional band of believers in the good for all of limited constitutional government, accomplish even more.

NPRI’s policy shop, media centers, and the Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation work tirelessly to:

  • Protect Educational Savings Accounts from defunding, so parents have hope for their children to choose a better education options.
  • Make Nevada government more transparent, so you the taxpayer can see where your money is being spent — and unfortunately wasted.
  • Fight cronyism by keeping those in power from rewarding their politically-connected friends with your hard-earned money.
  • Enforce the separation of powers within government so those who represent us are not also on the state payroll.
  • Protect the taxpayers with constant diligence against the implementation of a state income tax.
  • Use the courts to right the wrongs of unjust takings of your land or property by government.
  • Solve and save the government pension system (PERS) from mismanagement and abuse.
  • Give teachers the right to choose their representation.
  • And so much more.

 

As NPRI’s new President, I will stay grateful, using my past experiences to give my all to guide NPRI to further accomplishments on your behalf.

So stay grateful, and don’t take the beautiful weather, amazing vistas, or your freedoms for granted.

Sincerely,

 

John A. Tsarpalas
President
Nevada Policy Research Institute

 

In case you missed it...

 

Nevada’s 79th Legislative Session:

This week, the Nevada Policy Research Institute unveiled its “Taxpayer’s Guide to the Legislative Session.” The guide will feature important bills, along with a short description of the impact of each and whether or not it promotes the interests of taxpayers. The guide’s bill evaluations will be an important factor in the creation of the Institute’s upcoming 2017 Legislative Report Card. As Mark Twain said, “no man’s life, liberty or property is safe when the legislature is in session!” Now taxpayers can see why Twain was so very correct. (Read more)

 

Government regulation:

Nevada lawmakers have had more than four hours of testimony and presentations over ways to clamp down on “payday lenders” in the state. The two bills being discussed would limit the interest rate applied to these short term loans, and create a statewide database to prohibit consumers from taking out multiple loans at one time. Both bills represent a large government intrusion into the private financial affairs of Nevada citizens. (Read more)

 

Fiscal and taxes:

Nevada State Senate President Pro Tempore Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, has introduced a bill that would increase spending on public education by more than $1 billion. The proposal would increase per-pupil funding for special needs students, low income students and non-English speakers. Advocates claim the additional spending is needed in order to improve Nevada’s failing schools. Maybe, rather than throwing even more money into a system that has failed Nevada families for decades, lawmakers should consider empowering parents and students directly — by funding and implementing the state’s Education Savings Accounts. (Read more)

 

Partisan politics:

How does “Harry Reid International Airport” sound to you? If state Sen. Tick Segerblom has his way, that’s what McCarran International Airport would be called from now on. Senate Bill 174, which would authorize the name change, was slated for discussion Friday. An amendment has already been added to ensure that any name change be funded by private donations, and not taxpayer dollars. (Read more)

 

Healthcare:

Republicans have unveiled their plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act — and yet, according to free-market critics, it looks far more like an effort to repackage rather than repeal. While the law institutes some important reforms to Obamacare, many of the regulatory burdens of the ACA will remain untouched. Judging by how reluctant lawmakers are to substantively take on Obamacare, it seems appropriate to paraphrase Ronald Reagan: “A government [entitlement program] is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” [Read more]

 

 

 

I have an important announcement to make

Today, I'm writing to share with you an extremely difficult decision I have recently made. After returning to NPRI almost two years ago to serve once again as the president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, I have recently decided to retire. 

Leading this great organization has been the highlight of my career. I cannot think of a better cause to serve than defending the principles of limited government, individual liberty and free enterprise — the ideals that have defined the mission of NPRI since its founding.

Although I will no longer be serving as the Institute’s president, I can assure you that I remain as committed to and passionate about these ideals as ever before.

However, I have come to the decision that it is now time for me to once again step aside. 

While I’m proud of what all of us have accomplished during my time as president of NPRI, I have even higher hopes for the new president and my talented colleagues in the future. It has been a true blessing to have been able to work with a group of individuals who are so supportive, caring and dedicated to our shared ideals. 

I have no doubt they will continue their great work to create a stronger and freer Nevada.

I am pleased to share with you that the Institute's board of directors has made the decision to welcome John Tsarpalas to serve as the new president, effective March 13, 2017.  For more than 30 years John has been leading the fight for free markets and limited government. Previously, John was the President of the Sam Adams Alliance and Team Sam where he did issue-education and advocacy work in over 10 states. Now, he looks forward to leading NPRI in the Institute’s commitment to the cause of freedom in the Silver State and the west.

I cannot thank you enough for your support, your kindness and your generosity, nor can I adequately express what an honor it has been to serve as president of this great organization. The sadness I feel in leaving NPRI is surpassed only by the optimism I have for the future of the Institute and our great state.

Thank you!

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie


 

In case you missed it…

 

Healthcare:

Congressional Republicans have put forward a plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. There’s only one problem: It doesn’t actually repeal or replace much of anything. While it rolls back many existing taxes and regulations associated with the healthcare law, it keeps many of the ACA’s fundamental characteristics intact. As Reason Magazine puts it, “it's a muddled version of the [original] House GOP plan, which was itself a muddled vision of what a political compromise might look like, in some hypothetical world where Republicans actually agreed about health policy.” [Read more]

 

Minimum wage:

Unsurprisingly, the Nevada legislature didn’t wait long before it started toying with the idea of raising the minimum wage. Study after study has shown that such increases have a direct, and adverse, impact on unemployment rates — specifically among minority groups, who tend to suffer the most from job-losses associated with minimum wage hikes. This correlation isn’t some sort of accidental, or unforeseeable, consequence of artificially inflating wages. In fact, at one time, it was actually the purpose of minimum wage mandates. (Read more)

 

Educational choice:

A House committee has voted to continue a school voucher program that serves more than 1,200 low-income children in the District of Columbia. The measure to preserve and even expand the program passed despite strong opposition from Democrats. The majority of D.C.’s city council also opposed the measure, saying there is “no proof” that school choice has succeeded in helping disadvantaged students. The data regarding graduation rates and literacy, however, tell another story. Maybe that’s why Mayor Muriel Bowser, also a Democrat, has broken ranks from the party by strongly supporting the program. (Read more)

 

Energy policy:

Following the example of MGM and Wynn casinos, Caesars Entertainment Corp. has decided to leave Nevada Power Co. — which is owned by NV Energy. As part of the agreement, Caesars will be forced to pay $44 million dollars as an “exit fee.” Like Wynn and MGM, Caesar’s willingness to pay such a large fee for leaving demonstrates just how much the state’s utility monopoly has artificially inflated prices. (Read more)

 

NPRI’s annual Freedom Scholarship opportunity:

The Nevada Policy Research Institute is once again offering a $2,500 Professor R.S. Nigam & NPRI Freedom Scholarship to a graduating high school student in Clark County. The scholarship is open to all graduating high school students in Clark County — whether they attend a public, private, online or home school — who plan to attend college in the fall of 2017. This year, applicants are asked to write a 2 page essay considering the impact a minimum wage increase would have on Nevada youth. More details, including the essay topic and scholarship details, can be found at NPRI.org. (Read more)

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Separation of powers:

When the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s legal arm, the Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation, filed suit against Republican state senator Heidi Gansert for violating Nevada’s separation of powers clause, we expected the move would turn a few heads. Well, it did. And the reason why is simple: This is a reoccurring problem in Nevada. More importantly, as columnist Thomas Mitchell points out, the violation has a direct impact on the lives of taxpayers. As Thomas Jefferson once wrote, the concentration of government power is “precisely the definition of despotic government.” (Read more)

 

Labor unions:

Teamsters Local 707, in New York, is slashing retirement benefits after declaring it would soon be insolvent. Payouts are being cut by more than 60 percent — and if something isn’t done soon, even that might not be enough to keep the fund afloat for much longer. The system’s defined benefit structure, the dwindling number of new members in recent decades and the 2008 financial downturn have all been blamed as factors leading to the pension’s current financial woes. With such a bleak outlook, some members argue it should be up to the federal government to bailout the system — with one member saying “they helped the automobile industry, why not us?” (Read more)

 

Minimum wage:

Contrary to what minimum-wage advocates profess when pushing for $15 per hour, it is a well-documented fact that increasing the minimum wage results in more joblessness among “disadvantaged” workers — primarily minority and low-income workers. What’s interesting, however, is that at one time, this was actually the declared intent of such wage laws. Certainly the motivations behind minimum wage laws have changed since the early 20th century — but the effects have not. (Read more)

 

Overreaching regulations:

Established industries routinely use occupational licensing laws as a way to discourage competition, and amass more control over the economy and political system. One recent example can be found in Tennessee, where the Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners is threatening one woman with jail time and fines for practicing massage therapy on horses without a veterinarian license. The charge is made even more absurd by the fact that the government-mandated training requirements for the license wouldn’t even teach the very techniques used in massage therapy. (Read more)

 

Political correctness:

Illinois State University is now offering a “bystander training program on microaggressions.” The program is part of the University’s dedication to political correctness, and will “help to define what microaggressions are and provide strategies for people who encounter them in social, classroom, or professional settings.” (Read more)

 

 

 

In case you missed it...

Constitutional litigation:

The Nevada Policy Research Institute’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation has filed suit against Republican State Senator Heidi Gansert, for violation of Nevada’s constitutional Separation of Powers clause. “As a senator, she can simply not continue her employment in the executive branch — as Executive Director of External Relations for the University of Nevada, Reno — without violating this clearly worded constitutional provision,” said CJCL Director Joseph Becker. (Read more)

 

Cronyism:

The decision about whether Clark County should offer the Las Vegas Monorail a $4.5 million line of credit is any easy one, according to Steve Sebelius. In the Review Journal this week he wrote that “the answer is not only no, but hell no.” As he points out, taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to bail out a problematic project that has been plagued by missteps since day one. “Taxpayers didn’t create the problems that bedevil the monorail,” and they shouldn’t be asked to bail it out, according to Sebelius. (Read more)

 

Nevada legislature:

As Chief Clerk of the Nevada Assembly, Susan Furlong earned more than $65,000 in overtime alone, in 2015. In addition to her base salary of $99,000, as well as $3,000 in “other pay,” Furlong’s 2015 total compensation of $167,000 has raised some eyebrows. Despite this massive payout in overtime, however, lawmakers have been extremely reluctant to look at reforms that would cut back on excessive overtime for legislative support staff. “Those are the types of discussions lawmakers should be welcoming,” said NPRI’s Transparency Director Robert Fellner. “That's kind of a bigger issue than just the dollar amount.” (Read more)

 

Fiscal and taxes:

Congressional Republicans are currently debating the possibility of a “border adjustment tax” to encourage domestic manufacturing. In short, the result of the policy would be a tax exemption for exports, and a tax penalty for imported goods. Many small businesses owners are already worried they will be caught in the crosshairs, but consumers should be worried as well. About 97 percent of apparel sold in the U.S., for example, is imported — and even domestically manufactured apparel relies heavily on imports. The end result will inevitably mean higher prices for American consumers, and higher costs for industries that depend on international trade. (Read more)

 

Political correctness:

The writing center at the University of Washington, Tacoma, issued a lengthy promise to eradicate the “structural” racism and bigotry inherent in the English language. Lamenting the traditional focus on grammatical “correctness,” and describing grammar as “a rhetorical set of choices with various consequences,” the memo made national news. And while the school insists its efforts to erase “micro-aggressions” in writing has been taken out of context, it seems to stand by the argument that teaching proper English in a traditional manner somehow encourages racism and bigotry. (Read more)

 

 

In case you missed it...

Fiscal and taxes:

Lawmakers in Washington D.C. heard from a small business owner this week who says he spends in excess of $14,000 per year trying to comply with the overly complex federal tax code. “The tax code is unfair to small businesses, biased against savings and investment, and impossibly complex,” said Tim Reynolds, the owner of a small software company in Ohio. “A tax system dedicated to investment, savings, and small business growth must be put in its place.” According to Reynolds, the overly burdensome tax system is a major hindrance for new startups and entrepreneurs. (Read more)

 

Minimum wage:

Economists of all stripes agree that when a business is forced to increase its minimum wage, it must also increase the price of its goods or services. Advocates of higher minimum wage generally gloss over this tradeoff, focusing instead on what they describe as the “wage gap” between the white middle class and struggling minority groups. The truth, however, is that in addition to increasing costs on all consumers, increasing the minimum wage disproportionately impacts these very same minorities with higher unemployment rates. (Read more)

 

Cronyism:

Investors, taxpayers and government officials want to know what Faraday Future’s plan is moving forward. The electric car manufacturer, which was slated to receive over $215 million in tax incentives from the state, doesn’t seem to have a consistent message regarding its financial troubles. “Their story changes,” explained Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz. Currently, construction of Faraday’s planned manufacturing plant at Apex Industrial Park remains shuttered, due to lack of funding, and the company has been unable to pay many of its outstanding bills with various vendors. (Read more)

 

Labor unions:

Nearly 95 percent of Boeing’s 3,000 South Carolina workers turned out to vote in an election asking whether or not they wanted to be represented by the International Association of Machinists. That’s the exact same union that led the strike in Washington that convinced Boeing to move some operations to South Carolina. In a major blow to the union, almost 75 percent of workers rejected the union’s offer to represent them. (Read more)

 

Healthcare:

Republicans have introduced another proposal to replace Obamacare. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., introduced a bill to replace the failed Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, and have already gained the support of the House Freedom Caucus. That’s a group of roughly 40 conservative members of the lower chamber. Among other things, the bill focuses heavily on the expansion of health savings accounts, removing the current maximum contribution limit of $3,400. (Read more)

 

Higher minimum wages hurt Hispanic workers most, 2016 data suggests

By Daniel Honchariw

While advocates of raising the minimum wage often argue that doing so will benefit Nevada’s minority communities, an analysis of economic data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests precisely the opposite — especially when it comes to Hispanic unemployment.

Consider these two related trends:

1) As minimum wages increase, so does Hispanic unemployment.

In the 17 states whose Hispanic population exceeded 10 percent of their total population in 2016 — which include Nevada — higher minimum wages correlate significantly with higher rates of Hispanic unemployment.

In the above scatterplot, each point represents a state whose Hispanic population exceeded 10 percent of its total population for 2016.

Generally, the chart shows that Hispanic unemployment tends to be higher in states where minimum wages are also relatively higher.

The regression equation (y=) suggests that each $1 increase to the minimum wage is associated with a .86-pt increased rate of unemployment for Hispanics.

For example, a $12 minimum wage, as Senate Bill 106 proposes, is associated with an unemployment rate of 9 percent for Hispanics, per the regression model.

Similarly, a $15 minimum wage, as Assembly Bill 175 proposes, is associated with an unemployment rate of 11.6 percent for Hispanics.

2) As minimum wages increase, the gap between Hispanic unemployment and total unemployment widens.

In those same 17 states, higher minimum wages are associated with larger gaps between the unemployment rates of Hispanics and those for all unemployed.

Generally, the chart shows that the gap between Hispanic unemployment and total unemployment (Hispanic – Total) tends to be higher in states whose minimum wages are relatively higher.

The regression equation (y=) suggests that each $1 increase to the minimum wage increases the gap between Hispanic unemployment and total unemployment by .62-pts.

To illustrate with a hypothetical:

  • With a minimum wage of $8, Hispanic unemployment might be 6 percent while total unemployment is 5 percent.
  • If the minimum wage increased to $9, the model suggests that Hispanic unemployment might increase to 7 percent while total unemployment also increases, but only to 5.38 percent — thus increasing the gap (Hispanic – Total) by .62-pts.

 

Thus, not only do higher minimum wages seem to hurt Hispanics, they hurt them disproportionately compared to other racial demographics.

Other studies have observed a similar effect of increased minimum wages upon the unemployment gap for black workers and, in particular, black youth.

From the PanAm Post:

Before the [Federal Labor Standards Act], the black-white unemployment gap was insignificant, never permanently exceeding 1 percent. But since the introduction of the minimum wage, the gap has increased . . .

In a study of over 600,000 data points, focusing on 16 to 24-year-old males without a high school diploma, the Employment Policies Institute found that every 10 percent increase in a federal or state minimum wage decreased black youth employment by 6.5 percent.

Of course, these and all similar regression models do not prove causation (e.g., x leads to y) but merely, in each instance, a significant correlation.

However, the strength and direction of the associations should make it difficult for even the most vocal advocates for a higher minimum wage to ignore — especially those whose ostensible purpose is to help minority communities.

Daniel Honchariw, MPA is a policy researcher and analyst with NPRI.

 

In case you missed it...

 

Education:

Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, was confirmed on Tuesday of this past week. The nomination of DeVos — a vocal advocate for expanding school choice — marked the first time a Vice President has been called on to break a tie vote during the confirmation of a cabinet pick. Advocates of educational choice see her confirmation as a big step forward toward returning to parents control over the education of their children. (Read more)

 

The 79th Legislative Session:

Some lawmakers in the Nevada legislature are absolutely determined to hike the state’s minimum wage law. The proposal, SB106, would increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour — with no exemption for teenagers or training positions. Lawmakers pushing the bill have said that if it is vetoed by Governor Sandoval, they will consider passing it as a proposed constitutional amendment instead, giving it a chance to go to the voters. (Read more)

 

Environmental regulations:

It’s always important to focus on policy, rather than politics. Some self-described conservatives have released a new report titled “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends.” But looking at the plan, it is little more than a proposal for a carbon tax — the same kind of economically damaging tax proposed by the environmental lobby on numerous occasions. To give an idea of how fiscally damaging such a tax could eventually be, consider that over 80 percent of American energy consumption would be impacted by such a tax on carbon emissions. (Read more)

 

Labor issues:

Two more states have passed some version of “Right to Work” laws so far this year, with many more proposals working their way through various state legislatures. With the passage of reforms in Missouri and Kentucky, a total of 28 states are now considered “Right to Work” states. The trend toward more worker freedom is so strong, even union leaders are beginning to recognize that the days of forced unionization is on its way out. The former southern regional director for the United Auto Workers, Gary Casteel, captured the essence of the reform: “If you don't think the [union] is earning its keep, then you don't have to pay.” (Read more)

 

Government regulation:

A senior official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has recommended reducing firearm regulations, saying that doing so would be beneficial for both the firearms industry and the agency. In a memo, Ronald Turk told the agency that doing so “could improve ATF operations,” adding that it would “allow ATF to further focus precious personnel and resources on the mission to combat gun violence.” Naturally, the ATF has since explained that the views expressed in Turk's memo are not necessarily shared by the agency’s leadership. (Read more)

 

In case you missed it...

 

Healthcare:

Proponents of the Affordable Care Act claim that up to 27 percent of the American population are in danger of losing insurance coverage if Obamacare is repealed, due to pre-existing conditions. However, when you start to look at the actual data — and compare it with numbers from the pre-Obamacare era — it becomes clear that this alleged risk is merely a scare tactic. (Read more)

 

Fiscal and taxes:

Some legislators, prompted by county officials across the state, argue that property taxes simply aren’t rising fast enough for their taste. As a result, a proposal is being made to do away with, or at least alter, the current limits on how quickly property taxes can climb in any given year. It’s shaping up to be a battle in 2017, as other legislators insist that the tax caps have done their job — protecting homeowners and businesses from increased tax bills as the economy continues to claw its way back from the recession. (Read more)

 

Cronyism:

The Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas hit a speed bump this week. On Monday, the Adelson family announced it would be pulling out of the stadium deal. Soon after, Goldman Sachs also withdrew its support. Even though private investors might be backing out of the deal, taxpayers will remain on the hook for their $750 million share no matter what. In fact, politicians are already looking for other ways to spend the money raised by the tax hike, should the Raiders’ relocation not come to fruition. (Read more)

 

Education:

Contrary to what opponents claim — that Education Savings Accounts will only benefit the “wealthy” — the reform looks to be in a position to help low income families the most. Roughly two-thirds of the completed applications for the ESA program come from households making less than $50,000 a year, according to the state treasurer’s office. The numbers suggest that low income families are among the most eager for the implementation of the program. (Read more)

 

Regulation and bureaucracy:

Licensing laws are appropriate for professions that carry a substantial risk of physical harm. But Nevada’s go far beyond that narrow scope. In fact, nearly 31 percent of the Silver State’s workforce must first obtain government approval in order to work — the second highest rate nationwide. Many of these requirements are simply not needed. Consider the 2011 law that made it a criminal offense to practice music therapy without a license. (Read more)

 

Total Records: 2040

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