2019 Legislative Session
Get ready: Nevada’s 80th Legislative session begins Monday, and an avalanche of bills — many of them intended to target taxpayers — is already rumbling downhill. So, keeping an eye on what lawmakers are up to, regarding your personal earnings, is now more important than ever. Nevada Policy will once again be helping you track legislation online with our online tracker, which will be updated in real time throughout the week (view here). The Nevada Policy site will also post a weekly summary of developments. So, keep on top of what is going on at the legislature by bookmarking our taxpayer guide to the 2019 legislative session!
With a $13.7 billion unfunded liability, Nevada’s Public Employee Retirement System has become a real risk to taxpayers and public sector employees. In fact, government workers are being forced to cough up more money this year, despite having just recently received a cut to their promised benefits. So, what will public workers, such as teachers, get in exchange for the upcoming rate hike? Well — absolutely nothing. Just as with the multiple rate hikes that preceded it, this upcoming increase will be going entirely towards paying down the system’s record-high unfunded liability. PERS now costs the average teacher $17,000 per year, and almost half of that goes toward paying down its $13.7 billion debt. (Read more)
Fiscal and taxes
When national Republicans cut the tax rate as part of their tax reform bill — which reduced corporate taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent — most companies seemed pleased to have more money available to hand out in raises and bonuses and to invest in growth. For the outdoor-clothing retailer Patagonia, however, the rate cuts were described as “irresponsible.” CEO Rose Marcario claimed the tax cuts would defund government-run efforts to combat climate change. And so, the company recently went out of its way to announce a plan to donate its $10 million tax-cut windfall to private nonprofits battling climate change. Certainly, Marcario intended the donation as a “protest” of sorts against lower taxes — but Patagonia’s move has inadvertently highlighted one of the great benefits of letting individuals (and companies) keep more of their own money: They are free to invest that money in the causes that are close to their hearts. (Read more)
In addition to a $750 million taxpayer funded subsidy, the new Raiders Stadium being built near I-15 is about to get another perk not available to average Nevadans: It will not have to use Nevada’s monopoly energy provider, NV Energy. It’s just the latest example of the favoritism that, unfortunately, passes as “economic development” in Nevada. (Read more) On a related note, ReasonTV had an excellent video explaining the problem with using taxpayer dollars to subsidize stadiums. (Watch here)
Part of the problem facing free-market advocates when they speak about reforming healthcare, is that even in the days before the Affordable Care Act, Americans were generally unhappy with the way the market worked. What few Americans were aware of, however, was that most of the healthcare market’s problems were a direct consequence of government’s century-long crusade to “fix” traditional doctor-patient medicine. Over the decades, federal and state governments essentially turned doctors, hospitals and providers into serfs for a third-party-payer system tightly regulated and controlled by the “fixers” in government. The Trump administration, however, has a few ideas on how to change this. (Read more)