Reallocating existing education dollars could produce dramatically better Silver State school performance with no net increase in spending
There are dozens of ways to increase student achievement in Nevada without enacting job-killing tax increases or even spending one dollar more, finds a new study from the Nevada Policy Research Institute.
After years during which baseline revenue failed to grow, state revenues were beginning to turn around ahead of the 2013 Nevada Legislative Session. Even with more than $700 million in temporary tax hikes set to expire, Nevada was projected to receive more tax revenue by FY 2015 than it received in FY 2012.
Before Nevada joined the Union in 1864, the U.S. Congress explicitly promised more than two dozen times that the new state would be on an equal footing with the original states.
That promise, however, was not kept.
Today, as this report’s cover illustrates, only 13 percent of Nevada’s surface is available to provide the state with a tax base for the funding of services. In some counties — examples are Mineral, Nye and White Pine — the tax base is virtually nonexistent, at 4 percent or less.
Behind this problem is congressional bad faith — the breaking of a commitment to new states, a commitment even older than the U.S. Constitution: that the federal government would facilitate the settling of new states by selling or giving away unappropriated land and not keeping it. Indeed, it was on the basis of this commitment that the original 13 states agreed to the Constitution.
NV Energy wants to replace existing power plants before their usefulness has ended and for consumers to not only pay for the new plants, but also to pay more in perpetuity.
A version of the plan, dubbed “NVision” by the utility’s public relations team, was first proposed to the state Public Utility Commission in 2012. When the PUC rejected the proposal, the company took it to Sen. Kelvin Atkinson and Assemblyman David Bobzien, who introduced it in the Nevada Legislature’s current session as Senate Bill 123.
If enacted, NV Energy’s legislation would require the firm to close down at least 800 megawatts (MW) of coal‐fired electric generation capacity before the standard decommissioning date — after having constructed new renewable and natural‐gas‐ fired power plants to replace that lost capacity.
Big ideas can change the course of history. For Nevada public education, the time has come for a big idea: the $200,000-a-year classroom teacher. Teaching talent commensurate with pay of this magnitude, with eligibility based upon instructional prowess, could propel badly needed academic achievement gains.
If Nevada really wants a robust and flourishing economy, it needs to streamline state and local regulations, reduce and eliminate state and local licensing fees and filing requirements, ease restrictions that discourage hiring and eliminate government-granted business subsidies. Those are just some of the findings contained in The Path to Sustainable Prosperity, a comprehensive study on economic development.
When the government controls society’s resources, it becomes about who you know, not what you know. As resources are politicized, they get doled out to those with political pull to the detriment of the average citizen. That’s a central lesson of this biennium’s Piglet Book.
The teachers' union and AFL-CIO have proposed implementing a margin tax in Nevada. This study answers the top questions about how a margin tax would work and reveals how a margin tax would harm Nevada’s economy.