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John Tsarpalas

National School Choice Week Celebrations – Sign up information

National School Choice Week is on its way, running January 20-26th. And it’s important, because, as all parents know — or soon find out — every child is unique in his or her specific learning needs and benefits when multiple different learning environments are available. That’s why every year we join thousands of parents and students across America to celebrate diversity in education — whether it be private school, public, charter, magnet or homeschool. This year, Nevada School Choice plans a Las Vegas School Choice Fair to kick off School Choice Week! Not only can you learn about applying for Nevada’s Opportunity Scholarships, but also all the state’s charter, magnet, private and homeschooling options. Parking and admission is free, and hours of family friendly fun are planned, with a scavenger hunt, face painting, photo booth and general entertainment for the children. For more information and to register click here: (more)

 

Politics

Political gridlock usually causes problems, but, right now, it might just be what Nevadans need. Many Nevadans have a long list of “wish-list” policies the federal government could adopt that would help the state economy — such as returning some of the 85 percent of Nevada land that the Feds control. Given the current political climate, it’s likely many such “wish lists” items will be ignored. Nevertheless, some of the recent economic growth in Nevada — and America generally — could well continue. As Nevada Policy’s Communications Director Michael Schaus points out, “The gridlock could actually make it possible.” With so much division in the newly elected 116th Congress, one factor that boosted many incomes  — the recent GOP tax reform plan  — may well be safe. Political gridlock in Washington D.C. “might well be the best thing for economic growth,” Schaus said. (more)

 

 

Occupational Licensing

It all started with an Oregon traffic ticket. When Mats Järlström’s wife received a red-light camera traffic ticket, Järlström became interested in the formulas behind traffic-light operations. An engineer himself, Mats began studying, writing and eventually speaking on the need for adjusting the math behind the yellow light’s timing. His work quickly gained recognition — presented before a national convention of the Institute of Transportation Engineers  — but when Oregon’s state Engineering board heard about it, Mats was fined $500 and told to refrain from public speaking. The reason? He was not “a state-licensed professional engineer.” Then the Institute of Justice weighed in — fighting on Mats’ behalf for his First Amendment rights to speak publicly about traffic lights as well as call himself an “engineer.” On December 28th, 2018, U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon ruled in favor of Mats and his First Amendment right to so speak, with a permanent injunction protecting his right to call himself an engineer. For Mats, this win is about more than just him. “Being an engineer is a big part of my identity, as it is for many people. Thousands of Oregonians are ‘engineers’ — even though we have no reason to be licensed as ‘professional engineers’ — and we are now free to use the word ‘engineer’ to describe ourselves.” (more)

 

 

Film Tax Credits

As often is the case, the promises of eager politicians handing out tax credits right and left never seems to quite pan out for average taxpayers. Nevada’s Film Tax Credits are no exception. Five years after the initiation of the film tax credit program in Nevada, the program produces less than one-third of the revenue legislators expected when approving the program — surprising only state legislators, apparently, not economists and tax policy experts. Says Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First, “There is a large, longstanding body of evidence from numerous states that film production tax credits return far less than they cost state treasuries.” In fact, says LeRoy, he’s “never seen a credible study that suggested they come anywhere close to breaking even.” Making Nevada legislators’ record here even worse: these film tax credits were given out to reduce the economic impact of the Tesla tax credits. Clearly, when politicians are in the business of picking winners and losers, it’s taxpayers who end up paying for the foolishness. (more)

 

 

Pension Reform

Modest reforms made to California’s pension system by outgoing Governor Jerry Brown are being challenged by public-employee unions in a lawsuit now before that state’s Supreme Court. In 2013, minor reforms made to benefits to be received by future hires down the road curtailed some abuses, such as pension spiking. Yet, the unions are fighting the changes, arguing in court that any reduction in benefits going forward is a violation of the so-called “California Rule”  — a bizarre judge-made rule claiming governments are forbidden to change terms of future benefits not yet accrued. The unions want the Court to apply the “rule” and undo Governor Brown’s pension reform bill — thus increasing further the state pension fund’s nearly $140 billion unfunded liability. Let’s hope the Court repudiates the “California Rule,” so that governments will finally be able to pass meaningful pension reform, eliminating the future need for serious tax hikes and cuts in public services. (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.