It’s bad enough that Americans are facing fewer and fewer health insurance options, but the massive increase in cost is beginning to take its toll as well. Under Obamacare — officially known as the Affordable Care Act — consumers in 19 states will be facing double digit rate hikes in 2017 as insurance companies struggle to remain profitable under new regulations. (Read more)
The National Labor Relations Board says graduate students at private universities should have the right to organize as a labor union. On Tuesday, the board ruled that graduate students at Columbia University were within their rights to form a labor union for their work as teaching assistants. (Read more)
Many politicians have been quick to blame “corporate greed” for the massive price increase consumers are facing for EpiPens — an emergency medical device used by individuals with severe allergies. What is not being mentioned, however, is that the federal government is responsible for protecting the monopoly that has made such price gauging possible. A little less government, and a little more free-market competition, would do far more to lower prices than piling on a mountain of costly regulations. (Read more)
The Department of Energy has been aggressively adding countless new energy-efficiency regulations over the course of the last several years. Just since June, the DOE has set or initiated standards for dehumidifiers, ceiling fans, battery chargers, and wine coolers. Even the little light underneath your microwave is subject to energy efficiency regulations. The end result is that consumers are faced with increasingly fewer choices when it comes to every-day household appliances. (Read more)
The slowest recovery on record continues to grind along — but at a much slower pace than originally thought. Despite initial estimates already being lower than economists had hoped for, estimated second quarter GDP growth has been revised downward. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy grew a mere 1.1 percent in the second quarter of 2016. (Read more)
Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign may be over, but he still has plans to bring about a political “revolution.” Sanders announced a new non-profit this week, dedicated to spurring his followers into action. “And let me — speaking only for myself — tell you what to me the political revolution means. And it means to me nothing less than the transforming of the United States of America,” Sanders told the crowd. (Read more)
National Employee Freedom Week (August 14-20)
The National Labor Relations Board isn’t nearly as interested in protecting workers’ rights as it is in protecting the revenue union leaders receive from dues-paying members. If it was really interested in protecting the average worker, the NLRB would be far more interested in preserving and even promoting an employee’s right to choose. (Read more)
In response to a question from a reporter about the sustainability of businesses that take subsidies, Elon Musk said Tesla didn’t really even need the $1.3 billion in tax benefits given by the state of Nevada. “It was important that Nevada offer that package just to show that they cared,” explained Musk. Silver State lawmakers must have really touched his heart when they approved the tenth largest subsidy in U.S. history. (Read more)
How free are Nevadans? The Cato Institute has a new interactive map that shows the level of freedom enjoyed by citizens in each state. The good news is Nevada is still freer than most. The bad news is that the Silver State has been moving the wrong direction on the freedom index for over a decade. (Read more)
The percentage of Americans aged 18–64 covered by private health insurance in 2015 was roughly the same as it was prior to the passage of Obamacare. In addition to not substantially increasing the number of privately insured adults, Obamacare has also resulted in a large number of citizens moving to Medicaid — thereby straining government budgets. Furthermore, due to the Affordable Care Act’s impact on premium prices, many adults are now unable to afford the climbing costs, and are simply foregoing coverage as a result. (Read more)
Socialist ideas have been dominant in Brazil since they first took root there in the late 19th Century, interrupted only by a period of military dictatorship late last century. The country is now facing difficult times as it faces corruption, cronyism and economic decline. But there’s a silver lining: The concept of economic liberty is beginning to take hold among younger generations. As young libertarians are saying in Brazil, “Menos Marx, mais Mises.” (Read more)
Let me start by saying, there has been no decision, yet. And, I’m sorry if I made your heart skip a beat. But, it’s been a few weeks and I wanted to check in, provide the latest news with Nevada’s educational choice programs and give a little run down of July’s awesome ESA rally.
But first, I want to extend my heartfelt “thank you!” to all the parents, children and ESA supporters who came out to the ESA rally at the courthouse. I also want to thank everyone who showed up to the Guinn Room at the Capitol and for the many, many good wishes and prayers for a successful rally and favorable decision! Nevada parents rock!
While we are all on pins and needles awaiting the ESA court decisions, there are a few things to update. First, ESA enrollment is currently OPEN.
- Applications in English and Spanish can be found onNevadaESA.com or the Treasurer’s website. You will find a direct link to the applications here.
- Applications will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on September 30. Remember, applications must be stamped “received” in the hands of the treasury by the deadline. In the mail or postmarked is not sufficient.
- Mail or hand deliver your applications to State of Nevada Treasurer’s Office C/O Grant Hewitt, . Or, you can hand deliver applications to the Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Office at the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas located at 555 Washington Ave.
- Remember, five- and six-year-olds and active duty military families are exempt from the 100 day eligibility requirement
- Do not send in your supporting documents. You will be asked to upload them once the injunction is lifted (I have faith).
In other education-choice news, tax scholarship (AB 165) acceptance letters for this school year have been mailed out to families. Congratulations to all! This year, the program is capped at $5.5 million. And, remember, the state Department of Education has confirmed families can combine the tax scholarship with the ESA. That’s a possibility of over $13,000 to help families pay for private school tuition.
Two new scholarship granting organizations are in Nevada. They are holding off on funding until the 2017-18 school year. However, be sure to watch their websites for application information.
The ACSI Children Education Fund will open applications September 1. So be sure to get your applications in early. Unfortunately, America’s Scholarship Konnection, or ASK, which was gearing up to award scholarships later this school year, will also be holding off until next year. However, the organization says it is excited to come to Nevada and looks forward to serving Nevada families. So, watch the ASK website for applications.
Now to the news that still has me giddy. The ESA rally at the courthouse was AH-MAZING! There must have been at least 300 people rallying support for ESA. We are getting pictures and video up onNevadaESA.com. If you have any pictures you want to share, you can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to have pictures of the folks in Carson City! I hear it was quite full in the Guinn Room.
The ESA rally speakers were phenomenal. Their stories cut to the core of why ESAs are so badly needed in Nevada.
Shannon shared an all too familiar story of school officials urging her to medicate her son, rather than addressing his disability needs. As a special education advocate for nearly 10 years, it was disheartening to hear that such archaic practices are still implemented in Nevada public schools.
We also heard from Sgt. Delk and Jen Hanely, who shared their experiences of the educational sacrifices military families make while serving our country. Not only must military families uproot their children from friends and school quite often, but they also have no say in the public education system their children then attend. Whether that system is ranked Number 1 or — like Nevada — Number 49, their children attend schools where the families are stationed. Education Savings Accounts give Nevada military families options and opportunities otherthan 49th.
There wasn’t a dry eye — including my own — when Rita told the story of her journey. Zoned for a 5-Star Exemplary School, Rita thought her daughter would receive a top-notch education. But school officials failed to provide any English Language Learner (ELL) programs necessary to provide her young kindergartener with a solid educational foundation. Rita, a single working mother and UNLV student, was awarded a tax scholarship and applied for the ESA. Despite the opposition’s claims that families like Rita’s will not be accepted into Nevada’s elite private schools, Rita’s daughter was accepted into — not one, but, two — premier private schools.
And young Taliyah Wilson — a 14-year-old student embarking on her high school career in a long-time failing high school — hit to the heart of why ESAs are so important when she shared her fears of becoming just another statistic, just another number in an already overcrowded, failing system. Chained by her zip code to a school that’s been ranked as failing for at least 10 years, Taliyah asked the Justices to please allow the opportunity for kids like her to attend a school of their choice. With the ESA, Taliyah intends to go to a private school which will “focus on [her] gifts and talents.” You can read Taliyah’s story and that of other Nevada families here.
Okay, that’s a long read. But, I just had to share the highlights of the ESA rally. It truly was an amazing event — inspirational!
By Daniel Honchariw
Nevada’s Labor Force Participation Rate Has Never Been Lower
By many significant indicators, the national economy is in poor shape. In terms of how this has translated into Nevada’s economy, one troubling statistic concerns the size of the state’s labor force.
Nevada’s labor force participation rate is at 62.9 percent, an all-time low according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A corresponding decrease in the state’s unemployment rate appears to be a symptom of stagnation, not proof of economic recovery.
That’s because there are now more than 800,000 work-capable Nevadans who are altogether unwilling to look for work.
This situation has developed as a result of national economic policies which have thrust mountains of new regulations onto productive private businesses. Such policies have produced a weakest-on-record economic recovery following the 2008 financial meltdown.
Thus, while Nevada’s unemployment rate has fallen sharply versus its 2011 highs of more than 13 percent, Nevadans should take this perceived success with a grain of salt.
Between January 2011 and 2016, Nevada’s unemployment rate fell from 13.5 percent to 6.2 percent.
During the same period, however, the state’s labor force participation rate also fell steadily — and it continues to do so. This has some questioning whether the decrease in Nevada’s unemployment rate is being artificially boosted by a diminishing number of willing workers.
While the labor force participation rate and the unemployment rate both measure macroeconomic health, generally the two data points are actually quite different. The very nature of this difference means that a reduction in the labor force participation rate, ceteris paribus, can artificially inflate employment numbers. In turn, this may have the effect of portraying the economic landscape in a healthier context than reality might otherwise lend.
This is true because the unemployment rate only measures those who cannot find work among labor force participants. By definition, if you are neither employed nor actively looking for work, then you are not considered to be participating in the labor force.
To fully understand the impact this has on unemployment rates, it’s important to highlight the difference between labor force participants, and the labor force population.
The labor force population measures the number of civilian — non-institutionalized people ages 16 and older. At the start of 2011, Nevada’s labor force population was approximately 2,087,000; by 2016, that number had jumped to 2,280,000 — an increase of nine percent.
During the same five-year span, Nevada’s number of labor force participants increased from 1,364,000 to 1,433,000, a considerably-smaller proportional jump of five percent.
It is therefore easy to interpret a portion of Nevada’s decrease in the unemployment rate from 2011 as a predictable result of a mass migration from the labor force by former labor force participants.
Indeed, since 2011, Nevada’s unemployment rate has decreased in each of the five years. However, its labor force participation rate has decreased in each of those five years as well.
Unfortunately, this means that the data point used to highlight an allegedly strong post-recession recovery — a drop in Nevada’s unemployment rate — is actually a symptom of ongoing weakness in the economy.
A unanimous three-judge panel has revived lawsuits by dozens of groups who were harassed by the IRS prior to the 2012 presidential election. In the 22-page ruling, Judge David Sentelle explained that the lawsuits should be revived, as it was “plain” to all parties — including the Treasury Inspector General and a lower federal court — that the IRS “cannot defend its discriminatory conduct.” (Read more)
Taxpayer costs for U.S. public pension plans just keep climbing as long-term investment returns continue to underperform. But disappointing returns on investments aren’t the real reason behind the tax hikes that will be needed to bail out public pensions. In reality, the culprit is the extraordinarily generous nature of the benefits themselves, whose costs are only now coming to the surface. (Read more)
Gun owners with concealed-carry permits are among the most law-abiding demographic of Americans, according to a new study by the Crime Prevention Research Center. Concealed-carry permit holders are even six times less likely to commit a misdemeanor or felony than police officers. (Read more)
Green energy subsidies:
The Ivanpah solar power facility received a federal loan guarantee of $1.6 trillion, a tax credit in excess of $500 million, and contracts to sell power at four to five times the market rate of electricity — all because it was seen as a breakthrough in creating commercial solar power. But in truth, the plant isn’t even as “green” as it claims. Natural gas is a vital component to the plant’s operation, and is used throughout its daily operation. More notable, however, is that the plant’s use of natural gas is conveniently ignored by California’s environmental regulators. (Read more)
A new government report finds that the cost of expanding Medicaid to millions more low-income people is 49 percent higher than originally anticipated. The increasingly high costs of the expansion could complicate President Obama’s decision to offer three years of full federal financing to states that have not yet taken part in the expansion. (Read more)
Nevadans already pay the third-highest price for unleaded gasoline among all 50 U.S. states. So what could a “yes” vote on Fuel Revenue Indexing (Clark Co. Ballot Question 5) mean for the average price per gallon for Clark County residents? (Read more)
Data Points: Week of August 8-12, 2016
By Daniel Honchariw
Fuel Revenue Indexing, Clark County
Nevadans already pay the third-highest1 price for unleaded gasoline among all 50 U.S. states.
So what could a “yes” vote on Fuel Revenue Indexing (Clark Co. Ballot Question 5) mean for the average price per gallon for Clark County residents?
Currently, county residents pay in excess of 52 cents per gallon of unleaded gasoline in combined federal and state taxes.
On average, Nevadans pay four cents more in fuel taxes per gallon than residents in other states.
The Fuel Revenue Index measure proposes the current tax level will increase with the rate of inflation as measured by the PPI2, with an annual cap of 7.8 percent, for at least the next ten years.
For fiscal years 2014, 2015 and 2016 the PPI rate was 6.22, 6.05, and 5.25 percent, respectively.
Assuming the maximum permissible rate increase for each of the next ten years, fuel taxes per gallon could increase by 110 percent (58 cents) by January 2027 versus current levels.
As an illustration, the cost per gallon of unleaded gasoline could go from $2.49 to $3.07, an increase of 23 percent versus current price levels.
1. Producer Price Index for Highway and Street Construction
2. Rocio Hernandez, “Nevada still has third-highest gasoline prices in US,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 9 Aug 2016
Public employee pensions:
The American Academy of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries abruptly killed a longstanding task force of top pension experts Monday, when a task force paper suggested public-sector pensions should follow the same real-world accounting rules as private pension plans. Apparently common-sense reform wasn’t ever supposed to be on the table. (Read more)
United States Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says the IRS shouldn’t tax Olympic athletes for the cash prizes they win in Rio, because athletes train hard to become successful at the games. “Our athletes deserve thanks and praise, not a bill from the IRS,” said Schumer. Judging by his voting record, however, Schumer seems to have no problem voting for higher tax bills on everyone else who works hard to become successful, such as business people, workers and investors. (Read more)
The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against a ballot question that could have restored solar’s net metering subsidy in Nevada. The court said the “description of effect” on the petition was “not only inaccurate and misleading, but also argumentative.” (Read more)
National Employee Freedom Week:
The Nevada Policy Research Institute will, once again, be spearheading National Employee Freedom Week, August 14 – 20. This year will be even more important than in the past, as labor unions launch court fights to prevent members from dropping union membership. (Read more)
The fact that the federal government controls a high percentage of land in the western United States isn’t just an inconvenience for citizens — it actually violates rights guaranteed them by the Constitution. For millions of people who live in the West, where most of the land is controlled by the feds, “equal protection” under the law is only theoretical. In practice, we’re subjected to a very different set of rules and regulations than citizens in other states. (Read more)
It’s that time of year again. Back-to-school plans are already being made — and open enrollment for Education Savings Accounts has just started!
That’s why our team has been working hard to get parents informed, prepared, and updated on Nevada’s educational choice opportunities.
ESA enrollment will be from August 1, 2016, until September 30, 2016.
Both English and Spanish applications can be found on NevadaESA.com, or by visiting the Treasurer’s website. Simply print the application, and mail the completed form to the Treasurer’s office before September 30th.
Unfortunately, because there isn’t yet a decision from the Supreme Court, parents won’t receive notice of receipt from the Treasurer. Therefore, I recommend sending applications certified, return-receipt-requested. That way you’ll have proof of delivery, should that be needed later.
Please, please, hold on to your receipt.
The Supreme Court has promised a speedy decision, so stay tuned for any major news! We’ll be sure to let you know the second there is a development.
Stay strong! And #LetOurChildrenSucceed!
The Nevada Policy Research Institute is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and you’re invited to our anniversary dinner!
We are exceptionally grateful for all the support we have seen for our mission over the years. For a quarter of a century we have fought tirelessly for a freer and more prosperous Nevada — and we couldn’t have done it without you.
To help us celebrate, political humorist P.J. O’Rourke will be delivering the keynote address at our Anniversary Celebration on September 14th, at the Venetian | Palazzo.
Please mark your calendars, and help us celebrate this landmark anniversary! (Click here for details, or to register)
And may the next 25 years be as productive as the last!
Sharon J. Rossie
In case you missed it in the news this last week:
Education Savings Accounts:
Isabella needed help learning English — help that her “5-star Exemplary Reward School” wasn’t giving her. Rita, Isabella’s mom, realized that something had to be done, so she looked at alternatives and found Nevada’s two new educational choice programs: Tax scholarships and Education Savings Accounts. With the tax scholarship in hand and her ESA application filed, Isabella was accepted into not one, but two of the most prestigious schools in Las Vegas. Today, she’s winning spelling bees and excelling in class — but all this progress could come crashing down if ESAs aren’t funded soon. “We’ve found the perfect fit. Without the ESA, without that $5,000 to help with tuition, what will be Isabella’s future?” (Read more)
ESA Oral Arguments:
ESA’s had their day in the Nevada Supreme Court. Parents arrived en masse to show support for the nation’s most inclusive and expansive educational choice program. Taliyah Johnson — a 14 year old who says ESAs are crucial to getting the education she deserves — shared her letter to the Supreme Court with the crowd of supporters on the courthouse steps. (Read more)
Opting-out of a teacher union is no easy task. One teacher in Nevada has learned the hard way that the union cares more about collecting dues than they do about representing the interests of individual teachers. She tried to opt out, but failed to inform union bosses during the narrow two week window in July, and now must endure yet another year of inadequate, and unwanted, union membership. (Read more)
“Public pension plans are inherently opaque, with PERS in a class of its own,” says Robert Fellner, Transparency Director for the Nevada Policy Research Institute. With the PERS board made up exclusively of PERS members, financially naïve citizen-lawmakers being bullied by unions and massive unfunded liabilities, it’s no wonder PERS is in so much trouble. So how did it get this bad? Let’s start at the beginning… (Read more)
Start rationing your electricity use. If the EPA has its way, your electricity bill is about to skyrocket. A recent study by Heritage Foundation economists estimates that “green-energy” regulations will increase household spending on electricity between 13 and 20 percent over the next 20 years. (Read more)
I’m so excited! It’s here. It’s finally here!
We’re just days away from the event that parents have been waiting for: Nevada’s ESA support rally and Supreme Court oral arguments! This Friday, July 29th!
Grab your ESA support signs and join in as parents and community members from across the valley come together to support Nevada’s ESA program!
Head down to the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave in Las Vegas and stand strong with other ESA supporters for an early rally before going upstairs to view the Supreme Court oral arguments.
R a l l y : 8 : 3 0 a . m . t o 9 : 0 0 a . m .
1 0 : 0 0 A M - L o p e z O r a l A r g u m e n t s
1 1 : 3 0 A M - D u n c a n O r a l A r g u m e n t s
Come early with your friends and family and let your voice be heard! Lend your strength and support to the legal team, Treasurer Dan Schwartz and the brave families who have intervened in Duncan.
Once again, a few reminders for this historical day:
- Everyone who wants to watch the oral arguments will need to go through security, so be prepared to remove your shoes, belts and purses.
- Plan on a delay entering the Regional Justice Center as the Marshals search for weapons and other contraband.
- The Regional Justice Center prohibits any show of support or opposition in the building. So while we encourage everyone to show their support on the courthouse steps, no shirts, hats, accessories or other apparel showing support will be allowed inside. (Rally signs must also remain outside.)
- The Supreme Court courtroom is a professional setting and attendees are encouraged to dress accordingly: Shirts and shoes are required. Hats must be removed before entering court. No tank tops or shorts.
- No cell phones allowed in the Supreme Court courtroom. You will be required to leave your cellphones with the marshal before entering.
Etiquette and Decorum
- The Supreme Court courtroom is a professional setting requiring complete quiet from the audience. The atmosphere is akin to that of a very, very quiet church. Talking will not be tolerated and you could be removed by marshals.
- No food or drinks are allowed in the courtroom.
- Children are allowed in the courtroom. However, I recommend families with young children view the proceedings from the Jury Assembly Room on the third floor, which is a slightly less formal setting.
- The overflow room is open to everyone and will not be segregated by support or opposition. Marshals have advised they will be present to maintain civility. Shouting and other outbursts will not be tolerated.
We are asking supporters to bring their own signs highlighting their personal message of support. A poster board decorated with markers, paints, glitter, etc., is a simple and inexpensive way to do this. We will also have a handful of pre-made signs — created earlier in the week by parent volunteers — available at the rally.
As a show of solidarity with other ESA supporters we are asking that signs have both, our hashtag #LetOurChildrenSucceed and that of our fellow ESA supporters: #YestoESA.
We will have a place outside the courthouse building to leave signs, for parents that want to watch the oral arguments.
Metered parking is available in lots along 3rd St. and Clark and at the Clark County Parking garage at 455 S. 3rd Street. The Fremont Street Experience parking garage, located at 425 Fremont, also offers paid parking. (For that parking, you enter off 4th Street off Carson.) If parking is an issue, please call me at 702-222-0642. We can arrange free shuttle transport with our rally partner group.
The Supreme Court courtroom, located on the 17th floor, seats about 60 – 70 people. An estimated 30 seats are expected to be reserved, leaving just a few seats for the public. Overflow seating is located in the Jury Assembly Room, located on the Third Floor. All seats will be filled on a first-come, first-seated basis.
This is it, parents! The legal team, Treasurer Dan Schwartz and the brave parents intervening in Duncan need your support. They need your strength!
Come on down and rally for Nevada’s children — for your children.
And if you are in northern Nevada, or can’t make it to Las Vegas, call me for information regarding events in your area: 702-222-0642. Your voice will not be left out!
Download a flyer to invite your friends and family! ESA Rally flyer