Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.
The New Year is already here, and truthfully, I can’t help but feel optimistic as we move into 2016. Your support over the course of the last year has given us the resources to make incredible strides toward greater liberty in the Silver State. Our victories in 2015 were groundbreaking — often making national headlines and blazing new trails for the liberty movement.
Of course, that isn’t to say free market advocates didn’t have some setbacks.
On the one hand, lawmakers imposed the largest tax increase in state history on Nevadans, striking a blow to our hopes for fiscal responsibility from a new legislature. On the other hand, school choice became a reality — giving free-market advocates significant reason to celebrate.
It was probably this strange mix of victories and challenges that drove the demand for NPRI’s 2015 Legislative Review and Report Card. Grassroots activists, community organizations and even elected officials clamored to get their hands on our report — which rates lawmakers on their votes rather than their misleading campaign rhetoric.
Despite the tax hike — and the age-old tendency politicians have of breaking promises — it is hard for me to look back on the last year and not be proud of where Nevada is headed as a state. Improving the Silver State’s education system, by expanding school choice, has long been a goal for the Nevada Policy Research Institute, and in 2015, it finally became a reality. In fact, just this week regulations for the groundbreaking reform were approved by a Legislative Commission subcommittee — including an exemption for kindergarteners and military families from the requirement that students attend 100 days of public school before becoming eligible for ESAs.
The most inclusive school-choice program in America is well on its way to full implementation, giving students unprecedented opportunities to make the most of their education. This is no small victory for advocates of free markets and individual liberty. In fact, our success in Nevada will set the stage for education reform throughout the rest of America.
Your support and enthusiasm over the last year enabled us to keep fighting for expanded liberty in this, and all, areas of public policy. And there’s plenty more to do in 2016. The gains we’ve made with ESAs will need to be defended and expanded, burdensome taxes will need to be fought against and crony deals between big-business billionaires and big government politicians will need to be exposed.
Yes, 2016 will be a challenging year. Judging by the progress we made in 2015, however, I’m confident that nothing is beyond our reach. I look forward to making the next 365 days just as groundbreaking and successful as the last.
And I look forward to doing so with your continued support.
Sharon J. Rossie
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