At the capital: Nevada’s Legislative Groundhog Day

Victor Joecks

NPRI’s Executive Vice President Victor Joecks has relocated to Carson City so the Institute can have a full-time presence during the 78th Legislative Session. Over the next four months, he will provide regular updates and insights into what’s happening there so you can stay informed about the things that affect your family most.

In his first update, Joecks explains how the convening of the Legislature is a lot like Groundhog Day.

Hi, my name’s Victor Joecks, and I’m with the Nevada Policy Research Institute. I’m going to be in Carson City for the Legislative Session. 

This year, the Legislative Session begins on February 2nd – Groundhog Day – and unfortunately, Groundhog Day is the perfect metaphor for what happens every two years.

Every session, politicians bemoan the sad state of Nevada’s public education system and liberals try and fix it by spending more. And we’ve spent more – way more.

In fact, according to the non-partisan Legislative Council Bureau, in research requested by Assemblyman Ira Hansen, inflation-adjusted, per-pupil spending has nearly doubled in the last 30 years going from around $4,800 in 1983 to $8,700 in 2011. According to the federal government, which has records going back 50 years, inflation-adjusted, per-pupil spending in Nevada has nearly tripled over the past five decades.

Dumping more money into a broken system doesn’t work, though, so every two years liberal politicians return and demand that taxpayers spend even more — acting like we’ve never tried this before and turning Legislative Sessions into Nevada’s own version of Groundhog Day.

That’s why it’s so ironic that Gov. Brian Sandoval is trying to couch his call for the largest tax increase in Nevada’s history as being necessary to prepare for the “new Nevada.”

Throwing money at education isn’t new. That’s déjà vu all over again.

Only by trying something truly new – like the Opportunity Scholarships touted by Gov. Sandoval or Education Savings Accounts – will lawmakers be able to break this cycle and improve Nevada’s education system.

Victor Joecks is Executive Vice President at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan, free market think tank.