Happy Nevada Day!
Today is Nevada Day, the “largest” statehood celebration in the nation (perhaps because no other state apparently came up with such a get-off-work excuse). Arriving on the last Friday in October, it officially commemorates Nevada’s admission as a state into the union on October 31st, 1864. As you celebrate our 153rd anniversary of statehood, be sure to take a moment to reflect on the values and the freedoms that made the Silver Sate such a remarkable place to live. Happy Nevada Day!
Governor Brian Sandoval has continued his fearmongering over a possible repeal of the Commerce Tax, telling reporters “I think if somebody’s going to make a proposal [to repeal the tax], they’ve got to stand in a schoolroom with a room full of parents and teachers and be able to explain who they’re going to cut.” The cynical humbuggery here is depressing, considering that most Nevadans didn’t want this new tax, and Sandoval knew it very well. Also, Commerce Tax revenues — which so far make up only a tiny fraction of the state budget — don’t even go into education. Instead, they go into the General Fund. Finally, the tax river flowing into education will continue to grow, even if the Commerce tax is repealed. In short, as Thomas Mitchell wrote last week, “Gov. Brian Sandoval has been crying about a paper cut as though it were an amputation.” (Read more)
Government employee names, benefits and even salaries are supposed to be public information in Nevada. Therefore, Transparentnevada.com publishes the names and compensation of almost all state employees as a way to preserve financial accountability, fight corruption and keep the public informed of how tax dollars are spent. Some government workers, however, can remain anonymous under a special exemption that exists for positions that might require confidentiality for specific reasons — such as undercover police officers. While the exemption makes sense in theory, the practice has been abused by some governments as a way to avoid complying with transparency requirements. (Read more)
Separation of powers
When there is a permanent government-class that writes the laws, passes the laws and implements the laws, it’s no longer a government “of the people.” A perfect example is a case from the People’s Republic of Illinois: Two Chicago cops, who are also legislators in the Illinois Legislature, worked to pass a law that specifically benefited them (and only them) by allowing days spent in the legislature to count toward their police pensions. While the self-serving activity of these two Chicago politician-cops is appalling, it’s certainly not shocking. After all, this is the reason Nevada’s state constitution specifically forbids individuals from working in two separate branches of government at the same time — a provision that NPRI is actively litigating to have enforced. (Read more about the Chicago story here)
The former CEO of National Public Radio, Ken Stern, did something increasingly rare in today’s big-foot media biz: He went out to learn about, and from, people who don’t agree with him. Indeed, after talking to some conservatives in America’s heartland, Stern, a Democrat, even changed his mind on a few things — including on the effectiveness of gun control. “The media should acknowledge its own failings in reflecting only their part of America,” wrote Stern in a recent op ed. “You can’t cover America from the Acela corridor, and the media needs to get out and be part of the conversations that take place in churches and community centers and town halls.” If the rest of the elite national media took Stern’s advice, it could be a different country. (Read more)
Apparently, if you look hard enough, anything can be considered “racist.” A University of Illinois math professor, Rochelle Gutierrez, argues in a newly published math education book, that mathematics actually promotes “white privilege” because of its use of Greek characters and allegedly “European” concepts. Even math tests are inherently racist, according to Gutierrez, because minority students sometimes perform poorly. “On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness,” she claims. (Read more)
“An unholy combination of unrealistic accounting, skirting of state law by public employee unions, and a veil of semi-secrecy imposed by a board of self-interested pension beneficiaries poses a clear and present danger to Nevada taxpayers, particularly homeowners,” writes Jim Clark in the Sierra Sun. All is not lost, however: Proven reforms — already implemented in other states — could easily provide Nevada taxpayers with relief. (Read more)