The Nevada Piglet Book 2008

By Louis Dezseran, Steven Miller
  • Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Introduction

After the 2003 Nevada Legislature passed the largest tax hike in state history, a state senator who played a central role in the increase seemed eager to discredit taxpayer criticisms. Scheduling a hearing for the public to supposedly suggest spending cuts, he set ground rules requiring so much expertise that only another state senator (an accountant) and a representative of the Nevada Taxpayer Association dared to speak.

But behind the general public's lack of testimony were important factors. How many citizens can make time to delve into the state's opaque, arcane, and often inaccurate documents? How many citizens want to risk being publicly insulted and embarrassed by powerful politicians justifying their big-spending ways? And in the case of government employees, how many would think it a good career move to publicly "out" their agencies?

The reality, of course, is that waste in Nevada is rampant, and until the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) began its current accountability project, state and local governments have been subject to virtually no consistent, independent oversight.

In the following pages, NPRI examines government waste from a new angle, reporting the results of months of open-records requests made of state agencies and local governments. Much of the data has been posted on a new website recently launched by NPRI – www.TransparentNevada.com – while the stories behind some of the numbers have made their way into this 2008 Nevada Piglet Book.

NPRI has been greatly assisted in this effort by Citizens Against Government Waste. This booklet combines NPRI's in-depth and first-hand research into Silver State spending at multiple jurisdictional levels with the national insight and expertise of CAGW.

This year's publication is only the beginning.

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