In case you missed it...

 

Commerce Tax

The fight over whether or not to keep the state’s ill-advised Commerce Tax is already heating up — despite the fact that the Tax Department is being intentionally vague about the impact of the tax. (In fact, the department even goes so far as to claim it does not know how much it collects from each industry.) Clearly, the tax-and-spend elites in Nevada government fear the prospect of voters repealing such a big chunk of 2015’s massive tax hike. And why is the state’s government class so panicked? It’s simple: They know voters had already said “no” to this kind of tax, which was shoved down their throats anyway. (Read more)

 

Free speech

Recently, far-left activists shut down yet another speaker at a college campus. This speaker, however, was not some extreme right-wing provocateur or “controversial” libertarian — it was the American Civil Liberties Union's Claire Gastañaga. Ironically, Claire had intended to speak about the value of the First Amendment. Robert Tracinski writes at TheFederalist.com that this attack on the freedom of speech is a sign that American “liberalism” is being destroyed by the very forces it has unleashed. In short, American “liberalism” is committing suicide. (Read more)

 

Civil Asset Forfeiture

The US Commission on Civil Rights has called for reform of the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture — and it has done so by extensively referencing research conducted by the Nevada Policy Research Institute.  Specifically, the Commission condemned forfeiture as having “racially disproportionate outcomes” that leaves most victims with “no practical way to contest the seizure of such assets.” To bolster their claims, the Commission directly referenced a groundbreaking NPRI research project from this summer. (Read more)

 

Second Amendment

Aside from the constitutional issues confronting them, advocates of gun control face another big problem: Their supposed “solutions” don’t actually work. Statistician and news writer Leah Libresco used to be a strong advocate of increased firearm regulations. “Before I started researching gun deaths… I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly,” she wrote. But then something happened: she researched the issue for a project on effective gun-control policies. Her conclusion? “By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout.” (Read more)

 

Minimum wage

Advocates of higher minimum wage portray themselves as defenders of “the little guy.” Despite any good intentions, however, in practice they’re the exact opposite. Not only do higher minimum wage laws disproportionately hurt low-income and minority workers — California, for example, has seen single mothers suffer under its increased minimum wage — but such statutes also increase economic inequality and benefit large corporations by squeezing small competitors out of business. (Read more)

 

Occupational Licensing

The State of Florida is threatening a woman with jail time if she doesn’t stop dispensing dietary and nutritional advice without a dietician license. As an active health coach, Heather Kokesch Del Castillo has been giving paying customers advice on diet for years — but a local dietitian decided to turn her in to the state, because she had failed to jump through the arbitrary bureaucratic hoops necessary to obtain a state-issued license. Becoming a licensed dietician in Florida, by the way, requires a bachelor's degree, 900 hours of supervised practice, completing a written test and paying various state fees. Ironically, the advice Heather gives her clients would be perfectly legal — without a license — if published in a book. As a “life coach,” however, the state says she has no such right without first asking permission from government. (Read more)

 

Does the above story on occupational licensing hit especially close to home?

As bad as some health coaches apparently have it in Florida, Nevada is unfortunately credited with some of the worst occupational licensing laws in the nation. In the Silver State, music therapists, landscapers and even interior decorators are required to obtain licenses from the government. In many cases, these requirements squeeze out aspiring entrepreneurs and low-income workers.

If you have experience with a ridiculous or burdensome licensing requirement, please let the Nevada Policy Research Institute know about it by emailing NPRI’s Policy Researcher Daniel Honchariw, at dh@npri.org.

 

 

 

 

Las Vegas is an amazing place to live.

We are more than a simple gambling town — there’s a culture, a kindness and a spirit in Las Vegas that most people probably don’t realize.

But, that aside, we are known for one thing: Having a good time.

As Kevin Williamson, with the National Review, points out, that is part of what made the events on Sunday night so jarring.

“The massacre was horrifying,” Williamson writes. “There isn’t any place you want to have a massacre, of course, but there is something especially heartbreaking about having this happen on the Strip — a place dedicated to nothing more or less than having fun.”

And yet, despite the grotesque evil that took place, there is some solace we can take by watching the aftermath.

The people of Las Vegas turned out in droves to support each other. The tales of heroism are breathtaking. Blood banks were so overwhelmed with donations, they actually had to turn people away at some location.

In the wake of the heartbreaking events on Sunday, the people of Las Vegas, the citizens of Nevada and, indeed, the whole of America have shown that the good and decent character of this nation remains intact.

The phrase “Vegas Strong” has been trending in recent days on social media. It is a fitting phrase for how the community is recovering from the shooting. This city will overcome and pull through — and it will do so because, as the hashtag indicates, it is stronger than the evil acts of one man.

Below are a few of the stories from this last week that, despite the gravity of events, manage to inspire and uplift.

On behalf of everyone at NPRI, our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by Sunday’s shooting.

Together, we can remain strong.

 

Heroes from Sunday night

Many good people risked their lives to help complete strangers Sunday. While that night saw the absolute evil that exists in this world, it also demonstrated the virtue, honor and selflessness that still reside in the human spirit. Jonathan Smith, a 30-year-old copy machine repairman, directed more than 30 people to safety before being shot himself. He will likely carry the bullet wound for the rest of his life. Army veteran Rob Ledbetter used a shirt to apply a tourniquet to a wounded girl, before rushing off to help others. Lindsay Padgett and her fiancé, Mike Jay, managed to use a truck to get numerous people to medical care, despite the chaos surrounding them. Indeed, as tragedy unfolded on the Strip, awesome selflessness responded. (Read more)

 

Americans rush to help

Within days, a GoFundMe page to help victims had more than $2 million in donations. The fund continues to grow, as Americans from every background do what they can to give financially to recovery efforts. (Read more)

 

High-profile acts of charity

The Vegas community turned out in force to support those impacted by the shooting — and that community included everyone from the minimum-wage worker to the high-profile celebrity. Celine Dion decided to donate the proceeds from her Tuesday show at the Colosseum in Caesar’s Palace to the victims and families of Sunday’s Route 91 shooting. “On Sunday we lost too many beautiful, innocent souls, and so many are still suffering, but tonight we’re going to let these families know that we are supporting them and that we will help them through their tragic loss,” Celine, at the top of her show, told audience members. (Read more)

 

Efforts are ongoing

Even after the initial shock of the shooting gave way to political discussions over gun control, the local community in Vegas remained focused on what really matters: The families of those who lost loved ones. The owners of Stonerose Landscapes in Las Vegas received permission to create a memorial park — and local volunteers showed up in force. Moon Valley donated trees, Star Nursery donated shrubs, SR Trucking delivered soil and nearly 400 volunteers donated their time. John Pacheco, an artist whose studio sits just behind the garden, even brought coffee to the volunteers. (Read more)

 

Las Vegas is home

There is, and always has been, something special about Las Vegas. Kevin Williamson writes in the National Review that “Las Vegas is in my experience one of our least offensive cities, full of decent and hardworking people, kind and indulgent, living and working in the shadow of the international circus in the middle of it all. They’re veterans and immigrants and business owners who listen to a lot of jokes about the lovely, sunny, very livable city they call home. They’re tolerant, and they have good reason to be.” The shooting on Sunday will not, in the long run, change any of that. “People will keep going to Las Vegas for the same reasons they’ve always gone, and the cleverer among them might look around a little bit and discover some new ones. A few of them might decide to stay, as I did, at least for a while, and learn to appreciate the very real virtues of a city supposedly built on vice.” (Read more)

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Labor unions

If the United States Supreme Court rules the way many labor experts expect, the entire nation could effectively become “right to work.” The court will soon hear the case of Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who objects to being forced into paying fees to his local union. Currently, 28 states allow workers to “opt out” of paying dues or fees to their union entirely — but Illinois, like California to our west, is not among those states. A number of legal observers expect that with Judge Neil Gorsuch now on the high-court bench, the justices may well rule that unions cannot forcibly collect dues or fees from individuals who choose not to be members. (Read more)

 

Commerce Tax

Nevada’s Commerce Tax collects gross-receipts tax from businesses — but not all businesses are treated equally. Depending on the industry, businesses that receive over $4 million in gross revenue (not profits) are subjected to one of 26 different tax rates. Strangely, however, the Nevada Tax Department is claiming it has no way of reporting how much money was collected from each of those 26 different industries. It’s a surprising claim, given that the Department itself is tasked with levying those various rates. Failure to address this lack of transparency would indicate the Department is unwilling to have an honest and comprehensive debate about the impact of the unpopular tax before the 2018 election cycle. (Read more)

 

Government regulation

Shortly after Hurricane Irma ripped through Green Cove Springs, Florida, a Good Samaritan named Jack Roundtree decided to drive his BBQ food truck downtown and hand out free food to utility workers and community volunteers. However, there soon was a problem: A local restaurant owner reported the “unauthorized” mobile food operation to authorities. Local police arrived, and shut down Roundtree’s charitable gesture, because he had failed to obtain a permit from the city. (Read more)

 

Education

Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky is poised to collect quite a bonus when he retires next June at the age of 53. Skorkowsky will be cashing out nearly $170,000 in unused sick leave and vacation days on top of his full pension, which will pay out nearly 90 percent of his current pay. Those pension payments alone are estimated to be around $19,000 per month, not including upward cost of living adjustments in future years.  (Read more)

 

Yucca Mountain

The public’s opinions on Yucca Mountain are mixed. But one thing is for sure: The debate is not going away anytime soon. Since 1987 it seems the issue has been more about politics than science or safety — but Nevadans deserve better. As Thomas Mitchell puts it, “Nevadans should be shrewd negotiators and not let opportunities be missed due to misguided fears.” (Read more)

 

Nevada Policy Research Institute’s 26th Anniversary

Thank you again to everyone who attended our 26th Anniversary celebration earlier this month. If you joined us, and had your picture taken with our keynote speaker, Dinesh D’Souza, and would like a copy of your photos, please contact Office@npri.org. We’ll be happy to get you your photo from that very special night. Thanks again!

 

 

In case you missed it...

Regulatory overreach

Near the end of the Obama administration, its Labor Department attempted to unilaterally impose harsh and oppressive overtime rules upon private- and public-sector employers all across America. Not only would the rules have drastically increased the cost of labor, but it also would have created a major dilemma for local governments limited by balanced budget requirements: Hike taxes, or cut services? As Attorney General Adam Laxalt notes, “It was especially insulting when the Obama administration, which had nearly doubled the federal deficit, had the audacity to decide — by executive fiat, without Congress — that state and local governments across the nation needed to pay some state employees more.” Luckily for taxpayers and small business owners alike, a federal judge recently killed the ill-advised order. (Read more)

 

Public sector unions

Unions in America are changing. In 2009, for the first time, a majority of union members were not workers in private industry, but in government. This shift has a pronounced impact on government budgets, tax burdens and the overall size and scope of local governments. Just as importantly, it demonstrates the way in which unions plan to survive as private sector workers increasingly reject the practice of collective bargaining: by essentially becoming part of government. (Read more)

 

Transparency

It’s not just public-record emails that Incline Village General Improvement District management is fighting to keep from the public. Top IVGID administrators have also been stonewalling efforts by two trustees — including the IVGID treasurer — to see basic district financial records. When Trustee Tim Callicrate pointed out that, as a trustee, he ought to have access to such records, Chair Kendra Wong’s response was stunning. “But if [the records] get shared with us, it becomes a public document. That’s why it is not being shared with us.” [Emphasis added.] Wong’s  reasoning is not only an insult to the idea of government transparency, it’s also incorrect. (Read more)

 

Federal lands

The government agency best known in the West for federal overreach is, by far, the Bureau of Land Management. That’s why the Nevada Policy Research Institute and the Idaho Freedom Foundation recently signed a letter, asking the Department of the Interior to rethink its approach to lands in the West. “The new administration in Washington, D.C. offers westerners and all Americans the hope that the contentious land management policies of President Barack Obama are a thing of the past,” explains the letter. (Read more)

 

Loss and life

This last story is not related to any public policy issue, or modern political bickering. Instead, it is simply a well-written article by a great friend of our movement. Some time ago, this gifted voice for individual freedom suffered a great loss — and her article at the Federalist this week touched on something much bigger than our day-to-day focus on politics and policy. It’s about life, and loss. It’s about understanding what we have in our own families, and how to cope with it when it has gone. (Read more)

 

 

 

Nevada's pension costs 2nd highest nationwide

At 10.3 percent of combined state and local government own-source revenue, Nevada spends more on public pensions than any other state in the nation besides Illinois.

This is according to just-released figures from the Public Plan Database — a joint venture between the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and the Center for State and Local Government Excellence.

The National Association of State Retirement Administrators — a public pension advocacy group currently run by former Nevada PERS executive officer Dana Bilyeu — supports the Database by providing "review and assistance on the development of data models, validation of data, and development and administration of surveys."


 

Click here for a brief primer on Nevada PERS, here for a white paper documenting PERS legislative history or select the PERS tab from the issues menu to read all of NPRI's analyses on PERS

 

In case you missed it...

Media bias

It was still raining in Texas when certain folks in the media began using Hurricane Harvey as a weapon with which to score cheap political points. Perhaps one of the strangest narratives in the last couple weeks is the claim that Houston’s “libertarian-style” zoning and minimal regulation led to the large amount of destruction. However, there’s a far simpler explanation that is far more likely: Hurricanes are damaging. (Read more)

 

Labor unions     

Compulsory union membership is a “menace to [the] rights, welfare and liberty” of workers. But it wasn’t some staunch anti-union politician or policy expert who said that. It was Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor — which later became the AFL-CIO. Of course, things since have changed. And with a potential Supreme Court ruling — in the Janus v. AFSCME case — pending in the near future, all America could effectively soon become “right-to-work.” Labor leaders who’ve long had captive memberships are, naturally, beginning to panic. (Read more)

 

Modern politics

The ideological divide appears to be growing at an alarming pace — but navigating the political landscape itself is also getting confusing. J.T. Young summarized it nicely in The Federalist last week: “If contemporary politics seems confusing, it is not because of its vagaries. It is because of the basic certainties arising from the conflict between the Right and Left. Not only are the Right and Left unable to reconcile their differences, they cannot even reconcile their own limitations.” (Read more)

 

NPRI in the news

The Nevada Policy Research Institute isn’t just a resource for Nevadans trying to understand local policy issues — we’re also increasingly a go-to source for media from across the country. With the Oakland Raiders soon to become the Las Vegas Raiders, reporters want to understand the potential risk to taxpayers, the challenges for central planners and the cronyism that drives such giant giveaways. Thus, The American Spectator recently came to NPRI for the policy implications of pouring $750 million of taxpayer dollars into a pro football stadium. (Read the TAS series here: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five)

 

Nevada Policy Research Institute’s 26th Anniversary

On behalf of the entire NPRI staff, I want to thank everyone who helped us celebrate our 26th Anniversary last night.

The sold-out event, with Dinesh D’Souza as our keynote speaker, was simply inspiring. At one point, Dinesh explained that defenders of free markets and individual rights are far more powerful than we realize. And, looking around the room last night, I believe he is right.

Together, we have done some amazing things over the years. Your support, your enthusiasm and your engagement have helped us yield real results.

But there’s plenty more to do in the year ahead, and we have big plans for meeting those challenges. We are going to need your support more than ever. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, forward our emails to your friends, and visit NPRI.org to make a donation. After all, it’s your support that makes everything we do possible.

Together, with your help, I am confident we can defend our shared ideals, and keep Nevada free and prosperous.

Again, thank you everyone who helped share the evening with us. It was a truly exciting experience. And don’t forget to look for Dinesh D’Souza’s new book, The Big Lie! Better yet, show your support for NPRI by shopping on Amazon Smile, and choosing the Nevada Policy Research Institute as your preferred charity!

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Transparency

NPRI this week filed a formal complaint with the Attorney General’s office — its subject a newly announced Incline Village General Improvement District (IVGID) records-retention “policy” that clearly violates state law. A Nevada Journal report released this week documented the falsity of testimony by IVGID officials assuring board trustees that their email-destroying efforts had State of Nevada approval. In response, NPRI President John Tsarpalas issued the following statement: “Nevadans deserve maximum transparency from their government, which is something the state’s public records law is supposed to provide. But this law means nothing if governments are free to defy it without consequence. The Attorney General must ensure all governments provide their citizens with the maximum transparency they deserve, and that the law demands.” Read More

 

Taxpayer Subsidies

Stadium “deals” are notorious for leaving taxpayers out to dry. In a five-part American Spectator series, author Johnny Kampis reveals the “different kind of game being played in Vegas,” a game, that Nevada taxpayers are bound to lose. Kampis explains that — not surprisingly — the stadium is most generous to the team. Among other things, the Raiders will pay no rent to use the stadium for the 30-year contract or any new property taxes. Tourism will largely pay for the stadium with the increase in the hotel room tax. However, this tax has no sunset provision. Seems that the tax — in addition to making Vegas visits more expensive for Americans — will also most likely, once the stadium is paid off, become a slush-fund. As Michael Schaus, NPRI’s Communication Director pointed out, “This is a good example of them saying we need to raise taxes for ‘x’ purpose when really they just want to raise the taxes in perpetuity.” Read More

 

Separation of Powers

The Nevada State Constitution clearly states the important government-limiting principle of the separation of powers: “No persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any functions, appertaining to either of the others.” However, currently 10 legislators — out of 63 — also have jobs within the executive branch. In the case of Heidi Gansert, a state legislator who also holds a position in the executive branch, NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation (CJCL) this week appealed District Judge James Wilson decision to dismiss the lawsuit. Joe Becker, CJCL Director commented, “We believe the plain language of the constitution should take precedent over a non-binding LCB opinion, or the preferences of the ruling class. And we look forward to the appeals process finally giving further legal clarity to this important issue.” Read More

 

Big Labor

A natural disaster often brings out the very best in Americans, and that’s again been true in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Still, sadly, some try to exploit the plight of millions for their own gain. Consider the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, a SEIU-funded campaign seeking to direct some of that help into its own coffers. “Your donation,” the group says, “is vital to ensuring that we have the resources we need to organize and fight for Texans devastated by Hurricane Harvey!”  Seems like a lofty enough goal, but Michael Saltsman, research director for the Employment Policy Institute, points out the fine print on the site stating “that it funds workplace organizing efforts, rather than direct aid for Harvey victims.” In another statement, the fund says that “100 percent of the money will be spend directly on ensuring low income and people of color are not forgotten in the relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts.” The group has not disclosed how the funds are to be distributed. Read More

 


 

Transparency highlights

Amid Funding Shortfall, Santa Ana Raises Median Police Compensation Above $213,000: Journalist cites TransCal data to dispute police-union claims of being underpaid and demanding that taxes be raised on residents — who’ve median earnings of $35,000 — to give cops already making $213,000 a raise.

City of Riverside taking steps to curb oversized overtime: In May, nonprofit watchdog Transparent California highlighted the metastasizing overtime pay pocketed by Riverside utilities dispatcher Donald Dahle. In 2016, Dahle earned $257,719 in overtime, boosting his total pay to $373,235 and more than tripling his regular pay of $110,145. Factoring in benefits, Dahle’s total compensation for the year amounted to $423,568

Big public pensions keep piling up: Factoring in pension systems in addition to CalPERS, Transparent California reports nearly 53,000 public pensioners collected pensions of $100,000 or more last year.

 

 

In case you missed it...

Transparency

Has Incline Village’s often-criticized local government — the Incline Village General Improvement District, or “IVGID” — finally gone off the deep end? According to a new report by NPRI’s Steven Miller, staff at the IVGID openly confessed to destroying or concealing public records as a matter of policy — a felony-level crime under Nevada state law. After area resident Mark Smith submitted a public records request for certain emails from the District’s executive, IVGID staff explained that, as a matter of “policy,” emails are only available for 30 days before being destroyed. The policy is a clear violation of Nevada state law, which expressly requires that local governments permanently retain the email correspondence of such key executive personnel. (Read more)

 

Civil asset forfeiture

In Ohio during the 1920s, people caught with “intoxicating liquors” could be tried by rural mayors, who were actually paid for each conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court later found that such an arrangement violated the right to due process, since the judge (or mayor) had a financial incentive to find people guilty. So, why is civil asset forfeiture still legal? With some luck, it might not remain that way. Last week, a federal judge refused to dismiss what could turn out to be an important civil asset forfeiture lawsuit. (Read more)

 

Yelling “wolf” in a crowded theater (aka: free speech)

Nancy Pelosi has been trying to argue that the National Park Service should deny a permit for an alleged “alt-right” group called Patriot Prayer to demonstrate on Park Service land. In a recent interview on the issue, she was asked about the group’s free speech rights, to which she responded “The Constitution does not say that a person can yell wolf in a crowded theater.” Aside from getting the saying completely wrong, her bow-wow “legal” analysis is also completely off-base. (Read more)

 

National Employee Freedom Week

More than 7 in 10 union members support the idea of subjecting their union to regular recertification votes, according to a study conducted for National Employee Freedom Week this year. The week, which ends on Saturday, is a national campaign that aims to educate workers, policymakers and the media on labor reform efforts. Started by NPRI five years ago, it began as a little project here in Clark County, Nevada, where NPRI let local teachers know they can opt-out of their teacher’s union if they wanted to. Since then, “it’s really blown up into this national movement.” (Read more)

 

 

In case you missed it...

Cronyism

WalletHub recently ranked the states on how “easy” it is to begin a new business — and Nevada came in at a dismal 35th nationwide. Strangely, however, WalletHub didn’t rank the state low because of its ridiculous occupational licensing requirements, business fees, commerce tax or other burdensome government costs. Instead, WalletHub’s analysis seemed to largely favor the amount of subsidies and taxpayer-funded handouts, claiming that such cronyism should be seen as a good thing for startups! Of course, such an approach demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how the real world actually works. As NPRI Communication Director Michael Schaus points out, “encouraging businesses to get in bed with politics is not an effective way to promote broad economic growth.” (Read more)

 

Commerce tax

In 2014 Nevada voters made it clear that they didn’t want a new gross-receipts tax imposed on businesses. In fact, the so-called “Margins Tax” was rejected by 79 percent of Silver State voters. Despite this overwhelming disdain for a gross-receipts tax, however, lawmakers renamed it the “Commerce Tax” and forced it into law during the 2015 legislative session. Now, State Controller Ron Knecht is once again taking on the tax, by gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to repeal the Commerce Tax. “Essentially, we are saying here’s what the Legislature passed, do you all agree?” Knecht said. (Read more)

 

Green energy

In 2017, at the request of solar-industry lobbyists, lawmakers reinstated favorable net-metering rates for solar customers — a process in which solar customers receive credits for excess energy created by the panels.  The practice had recently been pulled back over concerns that the credits, if artificially high, act effectively as a subsidy. At the very least, such net-metering mandates are just another example of why government should be less involved in energy markets to begin with. Despite the concerns, the more favorable rates were passed in the last legislative session — but the solar industry still isn’t happy. (Read more)

 

Fiscal and taxes

Nevada keeps trying to figure out its recreational marijuana regulatory scheme, as a lawsuit continues over which businesses can legally distribute the drug — but that’s not the most interesting part of the saga. Dispensaries seem to be learning what most other people in business already know: Taxes and regulation are extraordinary burdens on companies. “Taxes, licensing, and other fees have already made it difficult to be profitable,” explained one dispensary. Another commented that the taxes and fees are driving the cost of legal marijuana too high, and “customers are already going [back] to the black market.” (Read more)

 

NPRI policy success:

The Nevada Policy Research Institute’s groundbreaking report on how Civil Asset Forfeiture is being used by Las Vegas Metro has proven extremely popular. The Las Vegas Review-Journal was the first major paper to cover the report, which identifies the Vegas Valley neighborhoods most targeted by law enforcement. Soon after the RJ’s coverage, it quickly became apparent that this kind of information has a national audience that transcends political and ideological lines. Released just as Attorney General Jeff Sessions began calling for the expansion of the often-abused policing tactic, the report attracted wide attention. From leftist publications such as The New Yorker to libertarian sites such as Reason.com, NPRI’s work has brought new attention to how, exactly, citizens are being impacted by the dubious practice. (Read the study here)

 

In case you missed it...

Education

A new peer-reviewed study by a Temple University professor shows that charter schools not only help their own students, but they also tend to help nearby public schools improve student performance as well. The study, which looked specifically at New York City, showed that public schools located within a half mile of new charter schools saw increased scores in both math and reading. Just as with the rest of the economy, when consumers (parents and students) are given options, the broader market (in this case, education) improves across the board. (Read more)

 

Occupational licensing

The state of Pennsylvania has shut down a small business for helping individuals navigate the Airbnb process. Sally Ladd was told by the state that if she wished to continue helping people find or post short-term rental properties on Airbnb, she would first have to complete more than 300 hours of training, establish a physical office location and apprentice under a real estate broker for three years, in order to obtain a real estate license.  As Joshua Windham, a lawyer for the Institute for Justice, explained, the license requirement seems awfully excessive “just to help someone rent a vacation property on Airbnb.” (Read more)

 

Cronyism

At first, the electric car manufacturer Faraday Future planned to build a full-scale production facility just north of Las Vegas, in exchange for roughly $300 million in taxpayer-funded incentives. Then, as Faraday’s backers ran out of cash, it looked like the company was going to scale back its plans. Then, earlier this year, Faraday announced that it would be abandoning plans to build in North Las Vegas altogether — but hope remained that the company would at least keep part of its business in southern Nevada. Well, this week the company dashed those hopes as well when it announced plans to move out of the state entirely, relocating to an unused building near Fresno, California. (Read more)

 

Fiscal and taxes

Philadelphia’s high tax on soda has had some unintended consequences. For example, it is now cheaper to purchase a beer in the city of brotherly love than a fountain drink. Also, government coffers aren’t seeing the revenue they were promised. Actual revenues have fallen far short of projections, as consumers discover ways to avoid the tax altogether. As a result, what the city thought would be a massive new revenue source has turned out to be little more than a job-killing tax on the city’s low-income residents. (Read more)

 

The political class

Until the 1960s, the line between the executive and legislative branch in Nevada remained well defined. But then, the Legislative Counsel Bureau, in obeisance to politicians eager to amass governmental clout by wearing hats in both branches, issued a non-binding opinion that essentially opened the flood gates. Since then, few attempts have been made to enforce the plain language of the constitution — but each time the violations are challenged, government creates a new justification for ignoring the rules. When District Court Judge James Russell ruled against NPRI’s most recent lawsuit last month, it proved to be just another example of the political class moving the goal posts to protect its own members. As Thomas Mitchell pointed out in his column this week, “It is hard to win when the rules keep changing in the middle of the game.” (Read more)

 

Total Records: 2071

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