Lawmakers must allow Nevada businesses to continue helping low-income students

Robert Fellner

Earlier this week, 8NewsNow showcased the enormous benefits from Nevada’s Opportunity Scholarship program — and the tremendous harm that would come if the state teachers’ union gets its way and successfully lobbies for the program’s elimination next year.

150 valley children of all ages, most of whom reside in low-income families, were granted “life-changing” scholarships thanks to a more than $1 million donation from the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

Sadly, the opportunity for businesses to make similar donations will be severely restricted next year, absent legislative action.

The Cosmo’s donation was only made possible because of the Opportunity Scholarship Program — which allows Nevada businesses to fund scholarships in exchange for tax credits.

Unfortunately, there is a strict limit on the total amount of donations that can be made each year. And that limit is set to drop by roughly 65 percent next year — forcing hundreds of students like those featured in the 8NewsNow report off of their scholarships, just a year or two after they made the transition to a school that finally meets their needs.

Why would the Legislature want to restrict such an obvious win-win program? Politics.

The state teachers’ union — which has gone on record as wishing to see the program abolished outright — is fiercely opposed to any educational options that do not align with its political agenda.

So if you’d like to see more stories like the one above, where Nevada businesses are encouraged to give back to the community by providing scholarships for low-income children, it’s imperative that the Legislature stand up for children and expand the program’s scope, not slash it.

And to learn more about this program, please visit

Robert Fellner

Robert Fellner

Policy Director

Robert Fellner joined the Nevada Policy in December 2013 and currently serves as Policy Director. Robert has written extensively on the issue of transparency in government. He has also developed and directed Nevada Policy’s public-interest litigation strategy, which led to two landmark victories before the Nevada Supreme Court. The first resulted in a decision that expanded the public’s right to access government records, while the second led to expanded taxpayer standing for constitutional challenges in Nevada.

An expert on government compensation and its impact on taxes, Robert has authored multiple studies on public pay and pensions. He has been published in Business Insider,, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register,, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, and elsewhere.

Robert has lived in Las Vegas since 2005 when he moved to Nevada to become a professional poker player. Robert has had a remarkably successfully poker career including two top 10 World Series of Poker finishes and being ranked #1 in the world at 10/20 Pot-Limit Omaha cash games.

Additionally, his economic analysis on the minimum wage won first place in a 2011 George Mason University essay contest. He also independently organized a successful grassroots media and fundraising effort for a 2012 presidential candidate, before joining the campaign in an official capacity.