In what is now a seemingly prophetic quip, political humorist P.J. O'Rourke once said, "The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."
Nevadans have been asked to support an amendment to the state constitution that would make it easier for legislators to increase the tax burden and would create uncertainty over the tax structure.
Imagine a dog chasing its own tail. Why does it do that? Does it actually think it will catch the tail? Now imagine 150 of Southern Nevada 's top political and economic leaders running in circles, chasing their own tales of woe and the wonders that could be – given enough tax money. It's an image that gets you to the essence of the recent forum hosted by UNLV and the Brookings Institute in Las Vegas to consider recent a Brookings policy report.
Brian Greenspun, publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, is one of 50 trustees of the Brookings Institute, a center-left think tank in Washington D.C. On Sunday, a story on the front page of Greenspun's insert ballyhooed the arrival in town of a Brookings expert to lead an invitation-only "get-together" of 120 Southern Nevadans with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Tuesday.
Homer Simpson, a sage for modern America (as sad or as promising as that might be) once said, "Facts are meaningless; they can be used to prove anything." If one's facts are sourced from Nevada's own government, then Homer may be more correct than we would hope.
It was the best of graphs, it was the worst of graphs. Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley has graciously sent NPRI the data set she used to generate a graph showing Nevada's general fund revenue per resident for FY 2009 will be below the 1996 level.
In attempting recently to dissect Barbara Buckley's general fund revenue per capita graph, we were only able to ascertain that she adjusted for inflation back to 1996. When trying to "reverse engineer" her graph (we took her 1996 per-capita amount and adjust it to 2008 dollar values to create a starting-point comparison between her graph and ours), it appears as though she is using the population estimates for the beginning of the fiscal year for her general fund per capita calculation.
Barack Obama's political ads have been relentless here in Nevada. Rarely does a day go by when we do not see or hear his claim that "for the first time in American history" John McCain "wants to tax your health care benefits." Well, this claim is stretching the truth a bit.
Nevada's economy faces more trouble than does that of any other state in the country. Rising energy costs, a severe stock market slump and a total collapse of the housing market have led to lower profits, less disposable income for tourists to spend and lower tax revenue.
After Nevada increased taxes in 2003 (new revenues were collected for FY 2004) Nevada's government rode atop a booming revenue source that was riding atop a booming economy. As a result, general fund revenue collections increased 28 percent, and overall government spending increased 17.6 percent.
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