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Labor and unions

Nevada teachers who would like to opt out of their union better hurry! The window for teachers to opt out begins tomorrow, on Saturday, July 1st, and will close in just 14 days on July 15th. The intentionally short window is, of course, inconvenient for teachers — who are likely enjoying their summer vacation, rather than worrying about labor representation. But, if they want to save a few hundred dollars per year — up to $800 in Clark County — they had better hurry. The Nevada Policy Research Institute provides pre-written opt out letters teachers can use at npri.org. (Read more)

 

Fiscal and taxes

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the United States Treasury is on pace to run out of cash by October. On March 15, 2017, the suspension of the debt limit expired, and since then the Treasury has been able to borrow additional funds. The CBO warns that without further authority to borrow, Treasury will be unable to pay debt obligations or fund various programs. Unsurprisingly, the political battle will likely be over how much to raise the debt ceiling, rather than how to avoid such perpetual overspending in the first place. (Read more)

 

Minimum wage

A recently released study showing the detrimental impact of minimum wage hikes in Seattle should have been a warning to progressive groups hoping to justify a $15 minimum wage. Instead, the Seattle City council — which had commissioned the original study in the hope that it would have “better” news for their progressive policies — has decided to simply ignore the lessons from the damning report. In fact, the council has commissioned a new study, in hopes of getting some results that tell them what they want to hear. (Read more)

 

Cronyism

Las Vegas isn’t the only local government in America prepared to throw money at private sports teams. According to the Cato Institute, a county in Virginia is about to decide whether to issue $35 million in bonds to build a new baseball stadium for the Potomac Nationals, a Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The millionaire who owns the team has even threatened to leave the county if the stadium isn’t built. According to a wildly optimistic “report” from a consulting firm hand-picked by the county, the new stadium would generate 288 jobs, $175 million in economic impact, and $4.9 million in tax revenue. Of course, similar studies have proven to be notoriously inaccurate. (Read more)

 

Transparency

NPRI’s transparency projects are, yet again, having tangible impacts in public policy. In May, TransparentCalifornia.com — NPRI’s sister site to TransparentNevada.com — reported on the massive abuse of overtime among public employees. One utilities dispatcher in Riverside California, for example, managed to collect $257,719 in overtime, more than tripling his annual base pay. Now, thanks to the Transparent California report, Riverside has been pressured into bringing the overtime abuse to an end — and is taking steps to prevent such abuses in the future. (Read more)

 


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