In case you missed it…

John Tsarpalas

Educational Choice

Scores of Nevada parent-activists observed National School Choice Week by showing up at the Legislature and telling state lawmakers why Silver State kids need public-education alternatives. (You can watch these articulate parents explain the critical need.) The fact is, the state’s Opportunity Scholarships program is now hanging by a thread. While the program got 20 million dollars to help low-income kids find better schools, in 2017, the new governor Steve Sisolak says he plans to slash the funding of Opportunity Scholarships and force nearly 1,000 low-income students back into the very schools their families fled in the first place. Basically, if these modest scholarships are killed in Carson City, the state’s new political leadership will be telling each of these students that their shots at a good education  —   in short, their lives  —  aren’t nearly as important as the political interests that have run the public-school system into the ground for decades and left Nevada youth struggling. (Read more)

Keep on top of this issue (and the rest of the 2019 legislative session) with Nevada Policy’s online legislative bill tracker! (Click here)


Occupational Licensing

For young people in Las Vegas or Reno attracted to careers in cosmetology, the barriers erected by the State of Nevada are pretty steep. Thanks to occupational licensing, job seekers who are interested in cosmetology must jump through multiple legal and academic hurdles before ever earning a paycheck. Thanks to Nevada’s overly burdensome regulatory structure, would-be cosmetologists must spend up to a year in a board-licensed private “cosmetology” school  —  average tuition of $17,000  —  for a couple of months’ classroom instruction by cosmetology-board-licensed instructors, and then take additional time to work as unpaid labor in the school’s salon. Not surprisingly, it’s exceedingly common for students to emerge with mountains of debt, and an uphill battle to find financial success. (Read more)


Minimum wage

One of the supposedly progressive policy proposals from new-governor Steve Sisolak should have employers — and small business owners specifically — seriously worried: More minimum-wage hikes. It’s a policy that will put significant strain on Nevada’s small and growing businesses, as well as damage the workers they employ. For evidence, just look to our western neighbor. A 2017 analysis from researchers at Harvard and Mathematica Policy Research, covering more than a dozen cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, found that each $1 increase in the minimum wage was associated with a 14 percent increase in closures for median-rated restaurants. And in Seattle, researchers at the University of Washington identified a significant loss of work hours for affected employees, such that the workers who were supposed to gain a boost in pay were instead no better off than before! As National Federation for Independent Business Nevada State Director Randi Thompson cautions, “while telling workers [government is] going to raise their wages makes for a good sound bite, it may hurt them in the long run.” (Read more)


Government unions

In the aftermath of the L.A. teacher strikes in California, it’s worth asking just how much taxpayers are actually paying for these teacher labor contracts. While unions continually point out that, generally speaking, teacher salaries haven’t increased much in inflation-adjusted dollars for several decades, that ignores an important part of the story. Districts are now paying much more in total compensation now, thanks to ballooning pension costs and other benefits. No wonder teachers (and taxpayers) have the sense that all our tax hikes never actually go to the people doing important work in the classroom. (Watch the Reason TV interview)


Government debt

Worldwide, governments are really racking up the debt. Through the end of 2018, government debt hit $66 trillion  —  about 80 percent of global GDP. As economies slow, and financial conditions tighten, this could spell real trouble for the global economy. Perhaps most worrisome is the American government’s nonchalant attitude toward its own deficit spending. Since 2012, the US has seen its debt surge by 44 percent, from $15.2 trillion to $21.9 trillion. For Nevadans  —  whose largely tourism-based economy cratered in the most-recent debt crisis, aka the Great Recession  —  this should be sobering news. (Read more)

John Tsarpalas

John Tsarpalas


John Tsarpalas is the President of the Nevada Policy, 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 more than 40 years.