Taxes and fiscal:
It has been more than three years since the IRS admitted to harassing conservative non-profits ahead of the 2012 presidential election — and now we finally know how many organizations were actually targeted. A staggering 466 organizations were singled out by IRS officials for extra scrutiny because of their political orientation, according to a report filed by the tax agency itself. Keep in mind, when the story first broke, the IRS officially claimed no such harassment had taken place. (Read more)
Green-energy mandates, officially known as “Renewable Portfolio Standards,” are laws that require a certain percentage of a state’s energy production to be from renewable sources, such as wind or solar. While there are some marginal economic benefits to greater reliance on green energy, these benefits are overshadowed by the substantially more expensive cost of production. In 2016 these mandates will reduce Nevada’s economic growth by $1.7 billion, and reduce the state’s employment growth by 11,000 jobs. (Read more. And learn how to RSVP for NPRI’s June 15th energy policy luncheon by clicking here.)
It’s bad enough that taxpayers are on the hook for trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, thanks to overly-generous public employee retirement pensions — but now we might be on the hook for private sector pensions as well. Lawmakers are working to pass legislation that would “protect” the health and pension benefits of a private sector union, the United Mine Workers of America. And by “protect,” of course, they mean “bailout.” (Read more)
Teacher unions are not designed to protect students, taxpayers or parents. But don’t take our word for it: Albert Shanker, the longtime president of the United Federation of Teachers union, infamously explained that “when school children start paying union dues, that’s when [we’ll] start representing the interests of school children.” (Read more)
Tech giant Google is allegedly manipulating its online search engine to give favorable treatment to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. While there doesn’t seem to be any direct connection between the tech giant and the Clinton campaign, an in-depth study shows that Google alters search results to hide terms and articles that might be damaging to the presidential hopeful. (Read more)
“School’s out for summer!”
Remember singing those lyrics as child? Better yet, as a parent?
I sure do.
I know it’s that time of year when parents are looking to recharge and switch off the early morning alarms, homework, car-loops, lunch boxes, backpacks and the like. So, before parents completely turn off their get-the-kids-to-school routines, I thought I should give an ESA update. And, don’t worry, I will still be out there over the summer with Heels in the Field doing outreach and keeping you up-to-date on the country’s #1 educational choice program!
Over the past month, NevadaESA.com has added well over 300 people to the email list. So, this summer kick-off is going to cover the gamut.
Most Asked Questions:
- If I applied during a previous enrollment period, do I need to reapply? No. The Treasurer’s office asks families not to reapply. The office will pick up where the program left off before the injunction. Letters were in the hopper to parents who submitted applications in 2015. They will go out once the injunction is lifted (I have faith). Applications received after the injunction (2016) will be processed and notices will go out when the injunction is lifted (still having faith).
- When I applied during the 2015 enrollment period, my child was under age 7. Now he is 7 years old. Do I need to do 100 school days and reapply? No and no. The Treasurer’s office has stated it will pick up where the program left off before the injunction. Letters of acceptance to the families of 5 and 6 year olds were ready to be sent. They will be sent once the injunction is lifted (I have faith).
- Once the injunction is lifted (again, I have faith), will funding be retroactive? No. There will be no “back- pay,” so to say. Funding applies to forward expenses. Any costs incurred between applying and the start of funding is the parent’s responsibility.
- What can I do to help? Spread the word about ESA and NevadaESA.com. When parents are informed about the various educational choices available to them, they are empowered to become effective advocates for their children. Remember, I am happy to come talk in your homes, churches, sports practices, civic groups, place of work, etc… No group is too small or too large.
- Nevada law requires enrollment in a public school for the 100 school days immediately preceding an ESA application for program eligibility. Do not apply before 100 school days.
- Holidays, in-service days, and school breaks are not counted towards the 100 days.
- The 100 school days can cross school years. So, you could earn some days in the 2015-16 school year and the rest in the 2016-17 school year. However, you must be continuously enrolled.
- *** The 100-school-day requirement is waived for 5 and 6 year olds *** Your child must be 5 years old by September 30, 2016 to be eligible for the 2016-17 school year.
- *** The 100-school-day requirement is waived for active duty military families ***
- The Treasurer is now accepting applications through June 30th. Applications must be stamped received in the Treasurer’s office by 5:00 p.m. on June 30th to meet the deadline.
- Due to the injunction in the Lopez case, applications will not be processed. You will not receive notice of receipt from the Treasurer’s office. I recommend mailing your application certified-return-receipt. Keep your receipt as proof of delivery.
- You may also hand-deliver your application to the Carson City office at 101 N. Carson Street, Suite 4, or the Grant Sawyer office in Las Vegas, located at 555 E. Washington. Ask for a copy of the stamped application, or take a picture on your phone. Keep for your records.
- I will have Heels in the Field on June 14th for an ESA information and application assistance event at TCMI Church located at 5101 N. Rainbow, off Rancho Drive across from the Santa Fe Station Hotel & Casino at 6:30 p.m. Thank you, Karla Raypon-Severson, for all your hard work. [link to flyer]
- Be sure to check NevadaESA.com for summer events. I will be in the field all summer.
- In the Lopez case, the northern Nevada case with the injunction, the Nevada Supreme Court has set oral arguments for Friday, July 8, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. for one hour. Arguments will take place in Las Vegas at the Regional Justice Center, located at 200 Lewis Avenue on the 17th Floor.
- On May 18, 2016, Judge Eric Johnson dismissed with prejudice, meaning the case can’t be refiled, the Duncan case in southern Nevada brought by the ACLU. The ACLU has until July 1st to file a notice of appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.
As we have learned this past year, when it comes to lawsuits, the cases are always fluid — meaning things change often. Motions are filed, extensions are granted, hearings are rescheduled, etc.… So, be sure to look for my updates.
Depending on how quickly the Nevada Supreme Court turns out a decision in Lopez, the Treasurer’s office is gearing up for an August funding. Now, I’m going to be very honest here, any hope for an August funding is going to require swift action by schools, vendors and parents.
- Please, have the necessary documents to complete your application or registrations scanned, uploaded and ready to go on your computer. So when asked to upload them, it’s a quick click and done. I am happy to help you scan. I have portable scanners… and I do travel.
- Be sure to monitor your email daily once the injunction is lifted (I really do have faith). Check your junk email to make sure you haven’t received an email from the Treasurer’s office.
- Once the injunction is lifted (have I told you, I’m moving forward with faith that everything is going to turn out just right?), the Treasurer’s office has asked that parents, schools and vendors give the office a few weeks to get the system back online, register participating entities and input the more than 2500 paper applications waiting before making calls. The office will send emails as they are ready to proceed.
Stay Strong! And, #LetOurChildrenSucceed
Government’s attempts to centrally plan Nevada’s Energy future has created a mess for ratepayers. Renewable Portfolio Standards, crony “green-energy” subsidies and NV Energy’s utility monopoly have resulted in ever-increasing energy costs for the state. As a consequence, ratepayers are in desperate need of sound policy solutions. Join NPRI on June 15th for a policy luncheon outlining how rational energy policy can bring superior future economic success to the Silver State. (RSVP here)
Over half of the 23 healthcare co-ops created by Obamacare have gone bankrupt, leaving little doubt that the program is in need of substantial reform. The latest co-op to declare insolvency, Ohio’s InHealth Mutual, is the 13th — leaving nearly 22,000 consumers with a mere 60 days to find new health coverage. Despite $129 million in taxpayer-backed loans, the company reported an underwriting loss of more than $80 million. (Read more)
Socialism doesn’t work. Thanks to the central planners in Caracas, the nation of Venezuela is in an apocalyptic economic freefall. Due to inflation, food items such as McDonalds French-fries cost hundreds of dollars, and basic living supplies such as sugar, toilet paper and fuel are so scarce that rioting is almost non-stop in major metropolitan areas. Moreover, the economic collapse brought on by the nation’s socialist policies have resulted in widespread violence, the world’s highest murder rate and tyrannical martial law throughout the nation’s population centers. (Read more)
They descended on Nevada legislators in 2013, promising new jobs in the state’s depressed areas and higher tax revenue for state government. “They” included the head national lobbyist for one of the nation’s biggest firms targeting the government-subsidized investment industry, Advantage Capital Partners, and the legislation’s sponsor, State Senate Republican Minority Leader Michael C. Roberson. And the result was $112 million in taxpayer money being spent for, essentially, zilch. (Read more)
A record number of Americans are no longer working, or even looking for work, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. In May, the number of Americans not participating in the labor force climbed to nearly 95 million. To put that number into perspective, that is almost 15 million more people not looking for work since the tail end of the “great recession” in 2009. (Read more)
I hope everyone has a fantastic and safe Memorial Day weekend. Please take the time to remember those who have sacrificed everything for our freedom.
God bless our men and women in uniform, their families and all those heroes who have come before them.
Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend!
Sharon J. Rossie
In case you missed it in the news this week:
The Nevada Supreme Court has finally set a date to hear oral arguments in the remaining case against Education Savings Accounts. The court sent a notice to lawyers on both sides of the issue that the justices would meet on July 8th, at Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, to hear one hour of argument. (Read more)
After Obamacare was passed, lawmakers suddenly realized that they would be subjected to some of the same arbitrary and burdensome rules that average Americans face. In an effort to circumvent the hurdles and restrictions with which other individuals contend, Congress decided to attempt an administrative fix by categorizing themselves as a “small business” — thereby making congressmen, and their staff, eligible for federal subsidies. (Read more)
In a documentary about the country’s struggles with gun control, Katie Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig, toured the nation looking for “reasonable” gun control policy proposals. Critics of the documentary, however, blasted the film after it came to light that an interview between Couric and a group of Second Amendment advocates was intentionally edited in an attempt to discredit the pro-gun argument, and boost the film’s anti-gun narrative. (Read more)
Voter and election fraud:
Southern California has a problem with voter fraud — and it’s not always that difficult to spot. One voter who died in 2006, somehow managed to cast ballots in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 as well. Another woman who died in 1988 has been voting for 26 years, including in the 2014 election. (Read more)
Veteran and military affairs:
This video of a teary-eyed West Point graduate has been making the rounds on social media — and with good reason. This young man’s story, and his devotion to American freedom, is a heartwarming reminder of why our men and women in uniform are among the best this country has to offer. (Read more)
Real educational choice for parents and children is one step closer to becoming a reality in Nevada, after a Clark County District Court Judge dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit against the state’s Education Savings Account program. Even though an injunction remains on the program as the Nevada Supreme Court hears another challenge to the law, Wednesday’s news was a big step in the right direction. (Read more)
Welfare and public assistance:
When Maine decided to place limits on welfare, critics argued the reforms would leave the state’s impoverished families devastated and hungry. In reality, it has done exactly the opposite. One woman who had found herself trapped in a never-ending cycle of government assistance has since pulled herself from poverty — and she credits the state’s limits on welfare for her new lease on life. “Nothing feels as good as earning your own money,” she told the Daily Signal. (Read more)
A libertarian nonprofit group is seeking damages from the U.S. Virgin Islands’ chief law enforcement officer. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker had joined with Democrat attorneys general in 17 states who have been pursuing racketeering charges against Exxon Mobil and various non-profit think tanks, for their denial of man-made global warming. Attorneys representing the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a motion in Washington D.C. against Walker, citing a law that protects policy groups from harassment and politically-motivated legal action. (Read more)
Civil asset forfeiture:
Congress is finally taking a small step toward reforming policies that allow law enforcement agencies to confiscate the property of citizens without due process. Newly proposed legislation would raise the burden of proof from a “preponderance of evidence” to “clear and convincing” evidence, which makes it more difficult for the government to use asset forfeiture moving forward. While it is not a full restoration of private property rights or due process, it is at least a shift in the right direction after decades of systematic abuse by various agencies. (Read more)
Security and privacy:
There might be one upside to the TSA’s abysmal performance in recent months: Airports are now considering booting the agency from their property, and replacing them with private security firms. Management from the three major airports in New York are fed up with TSA’s long lines, inconsistent performance standards and repeated security lapses. As a result, they’re thinking about firing the feds, and turning to the private sector for their security needs. (Read more)
Alright, am I the only one who forgot to cook dinner and had a hard time falling asleep last night!?
Just in case you missed it: Yesterday, District Court Judge, Eric Johnson, dismissed the ACLU case challenging the constitutionality of Nevada’s Education Savings Account program.
I will tell you, I cried tears of joy. For so long, Nevada families have been on an emotional rollercoaster, and I was completely overwhelmed when I heard the news. I just bawled like a baby. And now, I admit, I’m still floating a few feet off the ground.
Okay, sure, there’s still an injunction and there is still a long road ahead — but I am taking this win as an opportunity to stop, smell the flowers and live in the moment.
Last night, after finally getting pork chops on the table, I sat down to really review Judge Johnson’s ruling and get an email to everyone on this list. But my mind just couldn’t stay focused. I kept thinking about all the families with which I’ve spoken, all the families that are praying for this opportunity and everyone else who is waiting and holding strong. By midnight, I still hadn’t gotten through the order. Nor had I written one word.
Then, as I read — for the hundredth time— these words, “This Court concludes Plaintiffs have not alleged facts establishing its claim that the Legislature's creation of the ESA program violates Article XI, section 10, prohibiting the use of public funds for a sectarian purpose. Plaintiffs' claim is dismissed,” it occurred to me, I wasn’t doing anyone a service by trying to rush through things. Not at all.
Since January, Nevada’s parents have been staying strong, keeping patient and digging their heels in for strength. Yesterday, however, Judge Johnson gave us all an opportunity to exhale a deep breath, smile from ear-to-ear and celebrate. So, please, pardon my indulgence, but I just need to exhale for a minute.
Let’s take a day or two and embrace this moment. Tomorrow’s road will be there…well, tomorrow.
In fact, starting next week, NevadaESA.com and several fabulous partners will hold three ESA/tax scholarship community information meetings. While these events have been in the planning for weeks, their timing on May 24th , May 25th and May 31st provides tremendous opportunity for families to get the “latest from the greatest”!
Representatives from the Treasurer's and Attorney General's office, plus Donna Wix from the Department of Education, will all be present to provide updates, information and answer your questions on the programs and ESA lawsuits. I will also be there to answer questions, and help parents with applications and document scanning.
Not only could these events be the last chance to get large numbers of families informed in time to apply for the Education Savings Accounts and the Tax Scholarships for the start of the upcoming 2016-17 school year, it is also a great opportunity to ask the experts about the road ahead, and what we should learn from the judge’s ruling.
Also, we can take the time to say, “thank you” to those officials and their teams who have worked so hard for Nevada families and children. Imagine how they will feel seeing the actual faces of the parents and children for which they are fighting. I can’t think of a better way to say, “THANK YOU!”
Whether you have already applied for an ESA, — you don’t need to reapply — are sitting on the fence, or seeking to learn about Nevada’s educational choice opportunities for the first time, I invite you to attend these public events. And, please, let’s spread the word to other families.
It’s that time of year again — end-of-school-year plays, concerts, awards and graduation ceremonies. And also, ESA and tax scholarship application time!
I know parents and schools are running dizzy with all the festivities. And, then, in a blink, it will be summer and families will be embracing vacations, slower days and relaxing family evenings. That’s why our team has been working hard to get parents informed, prepared, and updated on Nevada’s educational choice opportunities.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been to Pahrump, a few homes, a fundraiser and several Vegas-area schools providing information and helping parents complete applications and scan documents. We’ve also been working really hard with some spectacular partners to organize three community information events — two in the Las Vegas area and one in Reno.
Tuesday, May 24th — Historical West Last Vegas
Reconciliation Apostolic Ministries
911 G Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89106
Wednesday, May 25th — Henderson
Henderson International School
1165 Sandy Ridge Ave.
Henderson, Nevada 89052
Tuesday, May 31st — Reno
Bishop Manogue Catholic High School — Small Gym
110 Bishop Manogue Dr.
Reno, NV 89521
Representatives from the Treasurer's and Attorney General's office, plus Donna Wix from the Department of Education and I, will all be present to provide updates, information and answer your questions on the programs and ESA lawsuits. Application assistance and document scanning help will also be available.
These events may be the last opportunity to get large numbers of families informed in time to apply for the Education Savings Accounts and the Tax Scholarships for the start of the upcoming 2016-17 school year. An order is expected as soon as today, possibly, in the Duncan case (the one brought in southern Nevada by the ACLU), and these public events also offer unparalleled opportunities for schools, families and whole communities to receive, firsthand, the latest information from knowledgeable experts.
I'm reaching out to everyone on this email list to help me distribute information about these events to the community. Whatever you can do, your help is needed. Maybe you can distribute fliers in your surrounding community, take fliers to football practice and other parent gatherings, or just forward this email to everyone you know.
Let’s work together to empower Nevada families so all can secure the best educational opportunities for their children — whether they choose a traditional public school, charter school, private school or home-based learning. And, to all you social media gurus, I am indebted to you always for all your posts on #LetOurChildrenSucceed. Any way you can help, I am deeply grateful.
And, be sure to keep yourself up-to-date. Attend one or all of the information events — and bring some friends. Make sure to come by and introduce yourself!
Also, let your neighbors know the state Treasurer is accepting ESA applications through June 30th. Applications must be stamped and received in the office by 5:00 pm by June 30th. While those application can’t be processed while the injunction in Lopez is still in effect, they can, as soon as that injunction is lifted. Until then, parents won’t receive notice of receipt from the Treasurer’s office. 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.
For families seeking the tax scholarship, the Education Fund of Northern Nevada is accepting applications until June 1st. Dinosaurs and Roses are accepting applications from current scholarship families and will open applications to new families on May 20th.
Fiscal and taxes:
Any voter knows that if a tax is repealed, the funds from that tax will not be available for government to spend in future years. This isn’t a concept that generally requires explanation, however, the Nevada Supreme Court disagrees. The court ruled that the petition to repeal the Commerce Tax will have to start all over from scratch, because it allegedly failed to explain the impact repeal would have on the state budget. (Read more)
ESAs are an education reform that doesn’t focus on politics, special interests or entrenched bureaucracies. Instead, ESAs focus on directly giving families better educational opportunities. If Nevada is serious about helping repair the state’s educational reputation by increasing student performance, shouldn’t students — rather than political special interests — be where we start? (Read more)
Obamacare is bankrupting insurance companies. Or, at least it would be, if the Department of Health and Human Services wasn’t illegally providing bailouts. Through a provision in Obamacare known as Cost-Sharing Reduction, the HHS has been unlawfully paying off some of the losses incurred by insurers — despite the fact that Congress specifically denied a $5 billion bailout proposal. (Read more)
Facebook workers put in charge of promoting “trending” news stories on Facebook actively suppressed and downplayed conservative and libertarian themes. According to a whistleblower, workers prevented stories about CPAC, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul and similar topics from appearing in the “trending news” section. This revelation is just the most recent example of institutionalized political bias at the social media giant. (Read more)
Millennials seem to be overly impressed by Bernie Sander’s brand of socialism — but do any of them really know what it is? There’s a simple reason millennials are attracted to the idea of “democratic socialism,” and it’s not the economics. Simply put, it’s because it “sounds nice.” (Read more)
Almost every school in Detroit was closed earlier this week when the local teacher union organized a “sick out” after the district warned it might not be able to meet its financial obligations this summer. Teacher strikes are illegal under Michigan law, so the union urged teachers in 94 of the 97 schools to call in “sick,” forcing almost all of Detroit’s students to stay home — despite the fact that Detroit is ranked among the worst performing districts in the nation. (Read more)
Free market solutions:
Vietnam has been ruled by communists for more than 40 years — but free market reforms have been steadily creeping into the system. According to recent data from Pew Research, the people of Vietnam have the world’s most favorable opinion of capitalism with roughly 95 percent of citizens “agreeing” that “people are better off in a free market economy.” By comparison, only 70 percent of Americans have a similarly favorable view of free market economics. (Read more)
In an effort to boost the wind industry, the Obama administration has proposed a new rule that would exempt windfarms from regulations designed to protect bald eagles. Windfarms are notorious for causing bird deaths, and in recent years more attention has been brought to the problem as large-scale installations encroach on bald eagle habitats. According to the proposed rule, windfarm operators would be permitted to kill or injure just over 4,000 bald eagles per year without penalty — nearly four times the current limit for similar industries. There are an estimated 143,000 bald eagles in the United States. (Read more)
The Drake University’s student senate has rejected a free-market group’s application for recognition as an official student group. Turning Point USA was denied its application as a student group on campus due to what the student senate said was a “hateful record.” Students who had advocated for the free-market organization argue the decision was politically motivated, and runs contrary to Drake’s mission of encouraging “diverse perspectives and the free flow of ideas and discussion” among the student body. (Read more)
The FDA has issued final guidance for an Obamacare regulation that mandates calorie labeling on all restaurant menus. In the rule, the definition for a “menu” is more than 170 words long — and it even applies to many types of advertisements, coupons and marketing materials. Additionally, restaurants are not allowed to use plus or minus signs to indicate estimated calorie values, because the FDA believes such labels would be “too confusing” for average Americans. (Read more)
Declining standards in education are having a real impact on students’ ability to succeed after high school. Far less than half of high school students — only 37 percent according to the latest study — are adequately prepared for college by the time they graduate. This shows a distinct downward trend in recent years. Clearly, the status quo of throwing more money at public education, and praying for better results, just isn’t cutting it. (Read more)
Taxes and fiscal:
Supporters of Nevada’s new gross receipts tax say that repealing the Commerce Tax would create a hole in the state’s budget. In reality, it will do no such thing. Because of when the taxes are collected, 2016’s revenues will remain untouched — giving the 2017 legislature plenty of time to adjust for the change during their normal legislative session. (Read more)
Labor and business:
Many employees prize flexible hours over many other benefits offered by employers. Employers also find such flexibility to be a benefit, as it often increases the company’s ability to attract and retain quality talent. But with President Obama’s latest regulations nearing final approval, these private agreements between bosses and their employees might soon be a thing of the past. The new overtime rules sought by the administration would give government the ability to micromanage how, when and even if certain salaried employees are allowed to readjust their schedule. (Read more)
Since its creation, The Department of Homeland Security has seen its share of waste, abuse and even fraud — all while the department has ballooned in size. Even more surprising, however, is the agency’s obsessive focus on “climate change.” Since 2010 the agency has produced over 10 separate documents on climate change, and has even listed it as a “major security risk” in the key strategic document for the department. (Read more)
For far too long federal bureaucrats in Washington have controlled over 80 percent of Nevada’s lands. Allegedly, its vast resources make Washington a more suitable manager then locals. However, that has not proven to be true and has left locals suffering from mismanagement. Federal agencies have failed to curb the wild horse issue throughout northeastern Nevada — decimating land that would otherwise be available to ranchers for grazing permits. (Read more)
Sharon J. Rossie,