‘No new taxes’ is a great promise, if he can keep it

Michael Schaus

No new taxes will be a hard pledge for Governor Sisolak to keep if he has his way on a variety of spending issues.

At least in the long term.

Prevailing wage — something he specifically called for in his address — inflates the construction costs of public work projects, like schools, by an average of 45 percent. In 2009-2010, for example, this practice cost taxpayers a billion dollars.

Collective bargaining for state workers is another policy that will significantly drain state coffers and make future tax hikes inevitable. That policy will increase annual spending by approximately half a billion dollars, according to the nation’s foremost experts on the topic.

As a result, future budgets will likely be forced to grapple with the decision of raising taxes or cutting government services as costs quickly increase faster than revenue.

Nonetheless, Sisolak made strides toward reaching moderate and bipartisan policy proposals in other areas.

Despite calling for a major increase to the minimum wage — a policy that would disproportionally burden growing business and make it harder for low-income jobseekers to enter the workforce — he encouraged regulatory reform that would increase economic growth for small businesses.

Hopefully, his small-business-oriented regulatory overhauls would include policies such as occupational licensing reform, which would make it easier for disadvantaged workers to pursue economic success.

Gov Sisolak’s call for investing in the Rainy-Day Fund was also a positive step, better preparing the state for potential economic downturns.

However, his failure to reassure thousands of Nevadan families that they will continue to have access to the educational choice scholarships that have transformed their children’s lives was a disappointing omission.

Despite disagreements on a number of specific policy issues, Nevada Policy shares the Governor’s vision for a vibrant Nevada that is home to abundance of high-paying jobs alongside a quality education system.

We look forward to working with the Governor to help make this most worthy vision a reality.

Michael Schaus

Communications Director

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership. He is also currently a policy advisor for the Heartland Institute.

Prior to joining NPRI, Michael worked in media as a national columnist, a political humorist and a conservative talk show host in Denver, Colorado. Active in both print and radio, he shared his insights and free-market economics perspective with large local and national audiences.

Michael became interested in economic theory earlier in life while employed in the financial sector. As the liaison between a local community bank and the Federal Reserve, he acquired an in-depth understanding of just how manipulative big government can be toward industry and enterprise. It was that experience with big-government intervention that initially led him into public-affairs commentary.