In case you missed it…

John Tsarpalas

Transparency

Apparently not even repeated losses before the state Supreme Court will make some government officials comply with Silver State public-records law. In October, the Nevada Supreme Court reaffirmed that the public is entitled to information regarding taxpayer-funded pensions paid to government retirees. But despite that win by Nevada Policy in the state’s highest court, PERS continues resisting both the letter and spirit of Nevada’s public-records law. Rather than accept the Court’s clear and well-reasoned decision, the PERS Board voted 4 to 2 to fight on — at taxpayers’ expense — by filing a petition for rehearing. It’s just yet another example of why lawmakers need to add teeth to the Nevada Public Records Act and make those officials who casually ignore the law accountable before it. (Read more)

 

Helping the poor

As it turns out, Americans are exceptionally charitable. In fact, in terms of money and time, Americans voluntarily donated well over a half-trillion dollars last year to charitable causes — more than the entire federal government spent on all combined forms of welfare. All this giving was not, however, distributed evenly across America’s ideological spectrum. Despite having incomes that are about 6 percent higher than their ideological counterparts, self-described “liberals” gave 25 percent less than self-described “conservatives.” This isn’t to say that “liberals” or progressives are necessarily less charitable. It merely demonstrates a striking difference in the way liberals and conservatives approach helping the less fortunate. As Antony Davies and James Harrigan write in the Reno Gazette-Journal, “Liberals see charity as something to be accomplished through government… conservatives see charity as a private concern.” (Read more)

 

Tax and spend

Is there anything governments won’t try to tax? If Chicago is any indication, the answer is a resounding “no.” A few weeks ago, PlayStation 4 users in Chicago learned this lesson firsthand. Sony informed Chicago-area users that, thanks to a local tax ordinance on entertainment, gamers would soon be required to pay a 9 percent “amusement tax” for PlayStation subscriptions and streaming services. As absurd as it sounds, gamers and PS4 subscribers aren’t the only ways paying the tax. Thanks to Chicago’s “amusement tax,” everyone from moviegoers to sports fans now have to hand over extra cash to city coffers for accessing various forms of entertainment. (Read more)

 

Welfare spending

For decades the idea of a “Universal Basic Income” has been discussed as a possible alternative to the more traditional form of welfare spending. The concept is simple enough: Every citizen is guaranteed a certain minimum income, rather than the complexity of means-tested welfare benefits. Well, one village in northern Switzerland experimented with the idea, using a voluntary crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary funds. That the trial program was to be privately funded through voluntary donations — as opposed to mandatory taxes — was a promising start. There was just one problem: The campaign only raised 151,836 of the 6.1 million francs necessary to fund the ambitious program. As a result, the progressive plan for a guaranteed minimum income was abandoned… Come to think of it, maybe more would-be government programs should depend on crowdfunding. (Read more)

 

Cronyism

When industry giants start cheering for government regulation, Americans who value the concept of choice in the marketplace should see it as a red flag. Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple have all supported the concept of increased regulation of big tech — and the reason is transparent: Almost certain to have a hand in the writing of the regulations, they’ll be able to handicap potential competitors and innovators, as “regularly” happens with regulatory capture. Unfortunately, even some libertarian-leaning pundits and lawmakers have jumped on the “regulate Big Tech” bandwagon, seemingly blind to the fact that government “solutions” are far more likely to empower the tech giants currently running the show, rather than cut them down to size. (Read more)

John Tsarpalas

John Tsarpalas

President

John Tsarpalas is the President of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, and is deeply committed to spreading limited government ideas and policy to create a better, more prosperous Nevada for all.

For over three decades, John has educated others in the ideals and benefits of limited government. In the 1980s, John joined the Illinois Libertarian Party and served on its State Central Committee. Later in the 90s, he transitioned to the Republican Party, and became active in the Steve Forbes for President Campaign and flat taxes.

In 2005, he was recruited to become the Executive Director of the Illinois Republican Party where he graduated from the Republican National Committee’s Campaign College, the RNC’s Field Management School, and the Leadership Institute’s activist training.

Additionally, John has served as President of the Sam Adams Alliance and Team Sam where he did issue education and advocacy work in over 10 states, with a focus on the web.

John also founded or helped start the following educational not-for-profits: Think Freely Media, the Haym Salomon Center – where he served as Chairman, the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity and Midwest Speaking Professionals.

A native of Chicago, John now lives in Las Vegas with his wife of 38 years. They have three daughters, and in his spare time, John enjoys trap shooting (while he still has the right!), fishing and public speaking.