In case you missed it...

 

Free speech

Increasingly, Americans seem willing to censor political opinions with which they disagree. It’s now commonplace for political partisans to invoke forms of “political correctness” to silence dissenting views and demonize opposing thinkers. Such growing political intolerance, however, ultimately threatens the future of our republic. As Thomas Jefferson warned in his first Inaugural Address, “Having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.” (Read more)

 

Government regulation

The fight over “Net Neutrality” has created a sense of panic among the big-government supporters of the Obama-era regulations. Lawmakers have received death threats, protestors are warning about the “death of the Internet” and even the FCC chairman’s children have been harassed by supporters of the regulatory scheme. The hysteria, however, is stunningly misplaced, given the FCC’s actual actions. According to Reason.com, “In truth, the Obama administration-era Open Internet Order (OIO) that the FCC is overturning has little to with ‘net neutrality’ at all.” (Read more)

 

Politics

The term “fascist” is increasingly thrown around by leftists bent on portraying free-market reformers as some sort of power-hungry Mussolini-wannabes. A little knowledge of history, however, throws cold water on the claims. After all, Fascism is diametrically opposed to free-market capitalism, along with multiple other forms of liberty. In fact, the concept of fascism is deeply rooted in the big-government “progressive” movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (Watch the video)

 

Federal lands

When President Obama unilaterally announced millions of acres suddenly “protected” by the federal government, environmentalists applauded the overreaching land-grab. Now that President Trump is in charge — someone committed to limiting such federal excess — executive power is suddenly out of fashion on the political left. (The flip-flop was actually predicted by NPRI’s Communications Director Michael Schaus months ago.) No sooner had President Trump announced he was reducing the size of some national monuments in Utah, and the outdoors retailer Patagonia began telling customers “The President Stole Your Land.” Indeed, the company is even trying to take the administration to court. (Read more)

 

Healthcare

Medicaid was originally intended to help the elderly and the disabled. Being a big-government program, however, it unsurprisingly expanded well beyond its original mission. Today millions of able-bodied adults are in on the take — via the Affordable Care Act and thoughtless state governments. Some superior solutions, however, can be implemented on the state level.  (Read more)

 

Fiscal and tax

Opponents of the House and Senate’s respective tax reform packages have not been stingy with their false claims. Last week, Democrats claimed that one tax provision of the Senate’s version was an “earmark” to benefit the conservative-leaning private Hillsdale College in Michigan. The truth, of course, was that the amendment would have benefited any college that refused to accept federal tax dollars. If opponents of the provision want more colleges to take advantage of the provision, all they have to do is convince more colleges to abandon the practice of depending on taxpayer subsidies. (Read more)

 

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Labor unions

A major labor case comes before the Supreme Court early next year, and it could effectively give every union employee in the nation the right to opt-out of his or her union. While such an event would be a victory for employees who want to be freed from their union, it still wouldn’t tackle the larger problem: Most labor unions currently operate under significantly anti-democratic rules, with little or no accountability to the workers they claim to represent. For example, over 90 percent of union workers in America have never had the chance to vote on what bargaining agent — if any — should represent them at the workplace. Most workers simply inherit unions, whether they want them or not, that were voted on by workers long-since gone. (Read more)

 

Transparency

Government accountability is directly tied to government transparency. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that police officers who are required to wear body cameras receive fewer complaints from the public. That was the observed result from a yearlong study involving the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. According to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, misconduct and even “use of force” reports fell by almost 40 percent for officers who were equipped with the cameras between February of 2014 and September 2015. (Read more)

 

Government regulation

The possibility that an Obama-era effort to regulate the internet, known as Net Neutrality, could be overturned has resulted in some very heated rhetoric. Republican congressmen have received death threats, and the children of the FCC Chairman were even harassed by supporters of Obama’s regulation efforts. (Read more about that here.) Proponents of Net Neutrality say that reversing the rules would endanger the internet as we know it — never mind the fact that the “internet as we know it” was humming along just fine before the 2015 regulatory scheme. So what exactly is Net Neutrality? In short, it’s a heavy handed regulatory approach to solve a problem that never actually appeared in the first place. (Read more)

 

Free markets

Many big-government activists are calling on lawmakers to begin breaking up tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook — as if the sheer size of the companies somehow merits government involvement. Citing antitrust and monopoly concerns, these activists argue the companies somehow harm the marketplace. What these regulation-happy leftists fail to understand, however, is that these giants weren’t always giants — and their ascension actually displaced companies that had previously been demonized in similar terms, such as MySpace, Yahoo and even Walmart. (Read more)

 

Fiscal and taxes

Big-government advocates continually lament the widening “inequality” of income in the United States. As in this New York Times piece, tax-and-spend leftists bemoan the fact that the “top one percent” control so much of the wealth in this nation. They argue such inequality is evidence for an inherently “unfair” economic system. And yet, even the New York Times itself couldn’t help but notice that the industries seeing the most wealth accumulation tend to be those benefitting “from regulatory barriers that shelter them from competition.” In other words, government cronyism is the biggest dynamic behind the oft-vilified “income inequality” — far more than free-market capitalism. (Read more)

 

Repeal the Commerce Tax

Petitions are being circulated across the state to put on the 2018 ballot a question that would let voters repeal the state’s recently imposed and destructive gross-receipts tax, the Commerce Tax. Folks who want to be more active in getting the tax repealed can visit ripcommercetax.com.

 

 

In case you missed it...

Commerce Tax

A new analysis of the Commerce Tax — Nevada’s destructive gross-receipts tax — shows that not all industries are treated equally under the law. Some industries, such as retail trade, bear a much higher burden than other industries, such as mining. For skeptics regarding the unpopular tax, the data reinforces what was commonly understood: That the Commerce Tax ultimately benefits certain industries over others — while enabling politically connected businesses to effectively shift their taxes onto sectors of the economy with less political clout. (Read more)

 

Government regulation

An Obamacare regulation that mandates calorie counts on menus has had the industry worried since it was first announced. There was some hope that the burdensome mandate — which the industry says is almost impossible to comply with — would be reversed, or at least revised, by the Trump Administration. However, while FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has issued “clarifying” guidance on the rule, core concerns remain — including potential criminal penalties for small businesses that incorrectly display calorie information. (Read more)

 

Government waste

Local governments — including those within Nevada — always seem to be promoting the idea of some “new” mass-transit rail project. Las Vegas, for example, has repeatedly discussed the possibility of adding light rail. But why is this idea so popular among local governments throughout the nation? After all, mass-transit has been seeing substantial declines in ridership for years, despite massive amounts of taxpayer dollars being spent to prop up the failing concept. In fact, since 1970, taxpayers have spent well over a trillion dollars in such schemes. As Randal O’Toole explains in the Wall Street Journal, “measured per passenger-mile, the subsidies for transit are more than 40 times as great as for driving.” (Read more)

 

Free markets

The best thing about a free market system, is the fact that there are no “losers” in a voluntary transaction. This is why, when someone purchases something at a store, both the customer and the business owner say “thank you.” By contrast, government operates entirely on coercion. It’s no wonder, then, that taxpayers never feel like they get as good a deal from government as they do from the voluntary exchanges they make with neighbors and private businesses. (Watch the video)

 

Environmentalism

Another alarmist group is trying to fear-monger politicians into adopting big-government “solutions” for climate change, a recent letter sent to world leaders reveals. “A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated,” reads a recent letter written by a group of scientists. Keep in mind, however, that these are largely the same scientists that predicted human population growth would result in an uninhabitable planet by the 1990s. They also predicted that the polar icecaps would be completely melted by 2014, and the city of New York would be consumed by rising ocean levels by 2018. (Read more)

 

In case you missed it...

 

Free speech

PragerU, the popular conservative and libertarian non-profit founded by Dennis Prager, has filed a lawsuit against the tech giants Google and YouTube for censoring Prager’s educational videos. PragerU CEO Marissa Streit told The Daily Wire that she believes the organization will win in its lawsuit against “two of the most important public forums in the world” for what amounts to political discrimination. (Read more)

 

Job creation

License requirements are dragging down Nevada’s ability to get more people into the workforce, according to a new study by Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. In fact, if Nevada relaxed some of its occupational licensing requirements, it’s estimated the state could see an 8.5 percent boost to employment. It’s an estimate that makes sense when you consider that many common careers require clearly excessive amounts of “training” and administrative fees — the transparent purpose of which is blocking work in the field. Barbers, for example, are required to take 890 days of education and pay $140 in fees. Interior decorators face an even longer “training” period, with 2,190 days of apprenticeship required to get licensed by the state. In fact, the average license in Nevada requires $505 in fees, and over 600 days of education or supervised experience. (Read more)

 

Commerce Tax

Volunteers have already started collecting signatures to get a measure on the ballot to repeal the Commerce Tax — the state’s gross receipts tax on businesses. Nevada Controller Ron Knecht, who has been spearheading the effort to repeal the destructive tax, will be in Minden on November 13 to talk about the effort. Considering that a similar gross receipts tax was overwhelmingly rejected by voters in 2014, it seems that there is plenty of support to successfully repeal the Commerce Tax in 2018. (Read more)

 

Criminal justice

How many laws are actually on the books? Apparently, too many to count. Even the Department of Justice has been unable to tally the total number of federal-level criminal statutes. Title 18 of the United States Code, which governs crimes and criminal procedure, has over 6,000 sections, with more than 4,500 federal crimes and over 300,000 agency regulations containing criminal penalties. But if it’s impossible to even count the number of statutes and regulations that carry criminal penalties, how could it ever be possible for average Americans to follow all of them? (Read more)

 

Communism

November 7th marked 100 years since the Bolsheviks took control in Russia, promising bread, peace and liberty and instead ushering in a communist “revolution” that resulted in widespread poverty, genocide, human rights abuses and global conflict. The list of terrors and human suffering caused by communist regimes since the October Revolution of 1917 seems almost endless: The terror-famine in Ukraine, the religious persecution in Cuba, the “Cultural Revolution” in China, the Cambodia Killing Fields, Stalin’s Gulags… It goes on and on. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 100 million people died in the 20th century under the rule of communism. And yet, this dangerous ideology just never seems to be completely discredited. (Read more)

 

Veterans Day

Every year, marking the anniversary of the day on which World War I ended, with the armistice of 1918, Americans take the time to thank the men and women who have stood ready to protect our freedoms throughout the generations. Veterans Day is a time when we take a moment to acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions of members of our armed forces. Be sure to take time this weekend to reflect on the challenges, hardships, and sacrifices our veterans endure to keep us free.

On behalf of everyone at the Institute, I would like to say “thank you” to all our men and women in uniform. Your dedication to our freedom is inspiring and appreciated.

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Entrepreneurship

The late Steve Jobs once explained that “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” This is clearly the mentality of a successful entrepreneur — and certainly, it is a part of what allows America and the west the prosperity we enjoy. But there’s something else that makes the kind of entrepreneurship we see in the free world possible: The freedom to fail. It’s a freedom we take for granted, but it is essential to ensuring progress and the creation of wealth. (Read more)

 

Individual rights

Rudy and Rennie North were an elderly couple living out their retirement in a comfortable home on a golf course in Las Vegas, Nevada. But their world turned upside down when one day a woman named April Parks barged into their home. Parks told the Norths that she had an order from the Clark County Family Court to “remove” them from their home. Suddenly, all their belongings and assets were under Parks’ control, and they weren’t even allowed to notify their family. One of the men with Parks even said that if the Norths didn’t comply, he would call the police. How did this happen? Well, unfortunately, it was not an isolated incident — April Parks had gained “guardianship” of the Norths, without them even realizing it. Guardians, as it turns out, can take unbelievable control under Nevada law over the lives of senior citizens, and can even loot their estates. (Read more)

 

Big brother:

We know that tech companies surveil virtually every aspect of our digital lives for the sake of targeting us for products, providing content and tailoring our online experience. But imagine a world where the government similarly watches your every move, and distills your behavior down to a single “score” that rates what kind of citizen you are. You don’t have to imagine too hard — because China is already working on such a system. It’s called a “Social Credit System,” and this Orwellian scheme is expected to be launched sometime in 2020. (Read more)

 

Culture

George Washington was one of the founding members of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia. He attended the church for more than two decades, and even bought pew No. 5 when it opened in 1773. But, according to the so-called “social justice” attitude among the church’s modern leadership, none of that history matters. Last weekend, the church announced it was pulling down a memorial plaque to the nation’s first president because both Washington and another famous parishioner, Robert E. Lee, have become “too controversial” for a church that has the motto “All are welcome—no exceptions.” Understandably, the “politically correct” decision to toss this important piece of history down the Orwellian memory hole didn’t sit well with many parishioners, as the church’s Facebook page soon erupted with outrage over the issue. (Read more)

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Happy Nevada Day!

Today is Nevada Day, the “largest” statehood celebration in the nation (perhaps because no other state apparently came up with such a get-off-work excuse). Arriving on the last Friday in October, it officially commemorates Nevada’s admission as a state into the union on October 31st, 1864. As you celebrate our 153rd anniversary of statehood, be sure to take a moment to reflect on the values and the freedoms that made the Silver Sate such a remarkable place to live. Happy Nevada Day!

 

Commerce tax

Governor Brian Sandoval has continued his fearmongering over a possible repeal of the Commerce Tax, telling reporters “I think if somebody’s going to make a proposal [to repeal the tax], they’ve got to stand in a schoolroom with a room full of parents and teachers and be able to explain who they’re going to cut.” The cynical humbuggery here is depressing, considering that most Nevadans didn’t want this new tax, and Sandoval knew it very well. Also, Commerce Tax revenues — which so far make up only a tiny fraction of the state budget — don’t even go into education. Instead, they go into the General Fund. Finally, the tax river flowing into education will continue to grow, even if the Commerce tax is repealed. In short, as Thomas Mitchell wrote last week, “Gov. Brian Sandoval has been crying about a paper cut as though it were an amputation.” (Read more)

 

Government transparency

Government employee names, benefits and even salaries are supposed to be public information in Nevada. Therefore, Transparentnevada.com publishes the names and compensation of almost all state employees as a way to preserve financial accountability, fight corruption and keep the public informed of how tax dollars are spent. Some government workers, however, can remain anonymous under a special exemption that exists for positions that might require confidentiality for specific reasons — such as undercover police officers. While the exemption makes sense in theory, the practice has been abused by some governments as a way to avoid complying with transparency requirements. (Read more)

 

Separation of powers

When there is a permanent government-class that writes the laws, passes the laws and implements the laws, it’s no longer a government “of the people.” A perfect example is a case from the People’s Republic of Illinois: Two Chicago cops, who are also legislators in the Illinois Legislature, worked to pass a law that specifically benefited them (and only them) by allowing days spent in the legislature to count toward their police pensions. While the self-serving activity of these two Chicago politician-cops is appalling, it’s certainly not shocking. After all, this is the reason Nevada’s state constitution specifically forbids individuals from working in two separate branches of government at the same time — a provision that NPRI is actively litigating to have enforced. (Read more about the Chicago story here)

 

Media bias

The former CEO of National Public Radio, Ken Stern, did something increasingly rare in today’s big-foot media biz: He went out to learn about, and from, people who don’t agree with him. Indeed, after talking to some conservatives in America’s heartland, Stern, a Democrat, even changed his mind on a few things — including on the effectiveness of gun control. “The media should acknowledge its own failings in reflecting only their part of America,” wrote Stern in a recent op ed. “You can’t cover America from the Acela corridor, and the media needs to get out and be part of the conversations that take place in churches and community centers and town halls.” If the rest of the elite national media took Stern’s advice, it could be a different country. (Read more)

 

“Social justice”

Apparently, if you look hard enough, anything can be considered “racist.” A University of Illinois math professor, Rochelle Gutierrez, argues in a newly published math education book, that mathematics actually promotes “white privilege” because of its use of Greek characters and allegedly “European” concepts. Even math tests are inherently racist, according to Gutierrez, because minority students sometimes perform poorly. “On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness,” she claims. (Read more)

 

Pension Reform

“An unholy combination of unrealistic accounting, skirting of state law by public employee unions, and a veil of semi-secrecy imposed by a board of self-interested pension beneficiaries poses a clear and present danger to Nevada taxpayers, particularly homeowners,” writes Jim Clark in the Sierra Sun. All is not lost, however: Proven reforms — already implemented in other states — could easily provide Nevada taxpayers with relief. (Read more)

 

 

 

In case you missed it...

Fiscal and taxes

We are constantly told that the rich don’t pay their “fair share” of taxes. But is that really true? Even under President Trump’s proposed tax changes, the American tax code would remain highly “progressive” — meaning the wealthy would continue to carry a burden that is disproportionately heavier than that of the rest of taxpayers. Indeed, many taxes currently in place are paid exclusively by the so-called “rich.” (Read more)

 

Education

Quality teachers are a key component of quality education — but so too is teachers showing up for work. Unfortunately, Nevada ranks second-worst in the nation on this critical metric, with almost half of the state’s teachers reported as chronically absent. The national average wasn’t much better, with more than one in four teachers reported as regularly absent from the classroom. (Read more)

 

Commerce tax

Tax-and-spend government officials are descending to fear tactics as they attempt to frighten voters away from repealing the Commerce Tax next year. Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recent demand — that, “Anyone supporting a repeal of the Commerce Tax must explain to Nevada’s children, families and businesses which education initiatives will be cut if it is eliminated” — is a perfect example. In reality, Sandoval’s premise is completely wrong. Despite arguments to the contrary, Commerce Tax revenue is not earmarked for education. Furthermore, even without Commerce Tax revenue, the state will continue to enjoy increasingly higher levels of spending. For tax-happy lawmakers, however, no amount of actual facts seems to get in the way of their spin. (Read more)

 

Capitalism and big business

Progressives, conservatives and even some libertarians seem to share concerns about Silicon Valley’s technology giants. Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google dominate the tech world — and everyone seems eager to point out the inherent “danger” of such large enterprises. Progressives fret over tech “monopolies,” conservatives worry about the leftist nature of tech CEOs, and libertarians seem rightly skeptical of the industry’s big-brother surveillance practices. But are any of these concerns justified? Kevin Williamson argues in the National Review that none of the concerns are new, nor are they unique to Silicon Valley’s tech giants. “The illiberal impulse has always been strong, even among academics, corporate leaders, and other highly educated people of whom one might expect the opposite,” writes Williamson. (Read more)

 

Individual liberty

What exactly is libertarianism? According to the newly-created libertarian encyclopedia (yes, that’s a thing) it’s the belief “that men should be treated as autonomous individuals, free to make their own decisions regarding how to live their lives and how to determine their own salvation without being constrained to act against their wishes.” If ever you had a question about libertarianism, rest assured that Cato’s libertarianism.org likely has the answer. (Read more)

 

In case you missed it...

 

Commerce Tax

The fight over whether or not to keep the state’s ill-advised Commerce Tax is already heating up — despite the fact that the Tax Department is being intentionally vague about the impact of the tax. (In fact, the department even goes so far as to claim it does not know how much it collects from each industry.) Clearly, the tax-and-spend elites in Nevada government fear the prospect of voters repealing such a big chunk of 2015’s massive tax hike. And why is the state’s government class so panicked? It’s simple: They know voters had already said “no” to this kind of tax, which was shoved down their throats anyway. (Read more)

 

Free speech

Recently, far-left activists shut down yet another speaker at a college campus. This speaker, however, was not some extreme right-wing provocateur or “controversial” libertarian — it was the American Civil Liberties Union's Claire Gastañaga. Ironically, Claire had intended to speak about the value of the First Amendment. Robert Tracinski writes at TheFederalist.com that this attack on the freedom of speech is a sign that American “liberalism” is being destroyed by the very forces it has unleashed. In short, American “liberalism” is committing suicide. (Read more)

 

Civil Asset Forfeiture

The US Commission on Civil Rights has called for reform of the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture — and it has done so by extensively referencing research conducted by the Nevada Policy Research Institute.  Specifically, the Commission condemned forfeiture as having “racially disproportionate outcomes” that leaves most victims with “no practical way to contest the seizure of such assets.” To bolster their claims, the Commission directly referenced a groundbreaking NPRI research project from this summer. (Read more)

 

Second Amendment

Aside from the constitutional issues confronting them, advocates of gun control face another big problem: Their supposed “solutions” don’t actually work. Statistician and news writer Leah Libresco used to be a strong advocate of increased firearm regulations. “Before I started researching gun deaths… I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly,” she wrote. But then something happened: she researched the issue for a project on effective gun-control policies. Her conclusion? “By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout.” (Read more)

 

Minimum wage

Advocates of higher minimum wage portray themselves as defenders of “the little guy.” Despite any good intentions, however, in practice they’re the exact opposite. Not only do higher minimum wage laws disproportionately hurt low-income and minority workers — California, for example, has seen single mothers suffer under its increased minimum wage — but such statutes also increase economic inequality and benefit large corporations by squeezing small competitors out of business. (Read more)

 

Occupational Licensing

The State of Florida is threatening a woman with jail time if she doesn’t stop dispensing dietary and nutritional advice without a dietician license. As an active health coach, Heather Kokesch Del Castillo has been giving paying customers advice on diet for years — but a local dietitian decided to turn her in to the state, because she had failed to jump through the arbitrary bureaucratic hoops necessary to obtain a state-issued license. Becoming a licensed dietician in Florida, by the way, requires a bachelor's degree, 900 hours of supervised practice, completing a written test and paying various state fees. Ironically, the advice Heather gives her clients would be perfectly legal — without a license — if published in a book. As a “life coach,” however, the state says she has no such right without first asking permission from government. (Read more)

 

Does the above story on occupational licensing hit especially close to home?

As bad as some health coaches apparently have it in Florida, Nevada is unfortunately credited with some of the worst occupational licensing laws in the nation. In the Silver State, music therapists, landscapers and even interior decorators are required to obtain licenses from the government. In many cases, these requirements squeeze out aspiring entrepreneurs and low-income workers.

If you have experience with a ridiculous or burdensome licensing requirement, please let the Nevada Policy Research Institute know about it by emailing NPRI’s Policy Researcher Daniel Honchariw, at dh@npri.org.

 

 

 

 

Las Vegas is an amazing place to live.

We are more than a simple gambling town — there’s a culture, a kindness and a spirit in Las Vegas that most people probably don’t realize.

But, that aside, we are known for one thing: Having a good time.

As Kevin Williamson, with the National Review, points out, that is part of what made the events on Sunday night so jarring.

“The massacre was horrifying,” Williamson writes. “There isn’t any place you want to have a massacre, of course, but there is something especially heartbreaking about having this happen on the Strip — a place dedicated to nothing more or less than having fun.”

And yet, despite the grotesque evil that took place, there is some solace we can take by watching the aftermath.

The people of Las Vegas turned out in droves to support each other. The tales of heroism are breathtaking. Blood banks were so overwhelmed with donations, they actually had to turn people away at some location.

In the wake of the heartbreaking events on Sunday, the people of Las Vegas, the citizens of Nevada and, indeed, the whole of America have shown that the good and decent character of this nation remains intact.

The phrase “Vegas Strong” has been trending in recent days on social media. It is a fitting phrase for how the community is recovering from the shooting. This city will overcome and pull through — and it will do so because, as the hashtag indicates, it is stronger than the evil acts of one man.

Below are a few of the stories from this last week that, despite the gravity of events, manage to inspire and uplift.

On behalf of everyone at NPRI, our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by Sunday’s shooting.

Together, we can remain strong.

 

Heroes from Sunday night

Many good people risked their lives to help complete strangers Sunday. While that night saw the absolute evil that exists in this world, it also demonstrated the virtue, honor and selflessness that still reside in the human spirit. Jonathan Smith, a 30-year-old copy machine repairman, directed more than 30 people to safety before being shot himself. He will likely carry the bullet wound for the rest of his life. Army veteran Rob Ledbetter used a shirt to apply a tourniquet to a wounded girl, before rushing off to help others. Lindsay Padgett and her fiancé, Mike Jay, managed to use a truck to get numerous people to medical care, despite the chaos surrounding them. Indeed, as tragedy unfolded on the Strip, awesome selflessness responded. (Read more)

 

Americans rush to help

Within days, a GoFundMe page to help victims had more than $2 million in donations. The fund continues to grow, as Americans from every background do what they can to give financially to recovery efforts. (Read more)

 

High-profile acts of charity

The Vegas community turned out in force to support those impacted by the shooting — and that community included everyone from the minimum-wage worker to the high-profile celebrity. Celine Dion decided to donate the proceeds from her Tuesday show at the Colosseum in Caesar’s Palace to the victims and families of Sunday’s Route 91 shooting. “On Sunday we lost too many beautiful, innocent souls, and so many are still suffering, but tonight we’re going to let these families know that we are supporting them and that we will help them through their tragic loss,” Celine, at the top of her show, told audience members. (Read more)

 

Efforts are ongoing

Even after the initial shock of the shooting gave way to political discussions over gun control, the local community in Vegas remained focused on what really matters: The families of those who lost loved ones. The owners of Stonerose Landscapes in Las Vegas received permission to create a memorial park — and local volunteers showed up in force. Moon Valley donated trees, Star Nursery donated shrubs, SR Trucking delivered soil and nearly 400 volunteers donated their time. John Pacheco, an artist whose studio sits just behind the garden, even brought coffee to the volunteers. (Read more)

 

Las Vegas is home

There is, and always has been, something special about Las Vegas. Kevin Williamson writes in the National Review that “Las Vegas is in my experience one of our least offensive cities, full of decent and hardworking people, kind and indulgent, living and working in the shadow of the international circus in the middle of it all. They’re veterans and immigrants and business owners who listen to a lot of jokes about the lovely, sunny, very livable city they call home. They’re tolerant, and they have good reason to be.” The shooting on Sunday will not, in the long run, change any of that. “People will keep going to Las Vegas for the same reasons they’ve always gone, and the cleverer among them might look around a little bit and discover some new ones. A few of them might decide to stay, as I did, at least for a while, and learn to appreciate the very real virtues of a city supposedly built on vice.” (Read more)

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Labor unions

If the United States Supreme Court rules the way many labor experts expect, the entire nation could effectively become “right to work.” The court will soon hear the case of Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who objects to being forced into paying fees to his local union. Currently, 28 states allow workers to “opt out” of paying dues or fees to their union entirely — but Illinois, like California to our west, is not among those states. A number of legal observers expect that with Judge Neil Gorsuch now on the high-court bench, the justices may well rule that unions cannot forcibly collect dues or fees from individuals who choose not to be members. (Read more)

 

Commerce Tax

Nevada’s Commerce Tax collects gross-receipts tax from businesses — but not all businesses are treated equally. Depending on the industry, businesses that receive over $4 million in gross revenue (not profits) are subjected to one of 26 different tax rates. Strangely, however, the Nevada Tax Department is claiming it has no way of reporting how much money was collected from each of those 26 different industries. It’s a surprising claim, given that the Department itself is tasked with levying those various rates. Failure to address this lack of transparency would indicate the Department is unwilling to have an honest and comprehensive debate about the impact of the unpopular tax before the 2018 election cycle. (Read more)

 

Government regulation

Shortly after Hurricane Irma ripped through Green Cove Springs, Florida, a Good Samaritan named Jack Roundtree decided to drive his BBQ food truck downtown and hand out free food to utility workers and community volunteers. However, there soon was a problem: A local restaurant owner reported the “unauthorized” mobile food operation to authorities. Local police arrived, and shut down Roundtree’s charitable gesture, because he had failed to obtain a permit from the city. (Read more)

 

Education

Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky is poised to collect quite a bonus when he retires next June at the age of 53. Skorkowsky will be cashing out nearly $170,000 in unused sick leave and vacation days on top of his full pension, which will pay out nearly 90 percent of his current pay. Those pension payments alone are estimated to be around $19,000 per month, not including upward cost of living adjustments in future years.  (Read more)

 

Yucca Mountain

The public’s opinions on Yucca Mountain are mixed. But one thing is for sure: The debate is not going away anytime soon. Since 1987 it seems the issue has been more about politics than science or safety — but Nevadans deserve better. As Thomas Mitchell puts it, “Nevadans should be shrewd negotiators and not let opportunities be missed due to misguided fears.” (Read more)

 

Nevada Policy Research Institute’s 26th Anniversary

Thank you again to everyone who attended our 26th Anniversary celebration earlier this month. If you joined us, and had your picture taken with our keynote speaker, Dinesh D’Souza, and would like a copy of your photos, please contact Office@npri.org. We’ll be happy to get you your photo from that very special night. Thanks again!

 

Total Records: 2078

next 10 »