Live blogging Sandoval’s State of the State speech tonight

Victor Joecks

Write on Nevada will be live blogging Gov. Sandoval’s State of the State speech, and Assembly Speaker John Oceguera’s response, beginning at 6 p.m. tonight.

What will Gov. Sandoval say? I don’t have any inside information, but this preview from the Reno Gazette-Journal is a good summary of what’s been revealed so far.

“I can’t give you the speech now, but obviously, the priorities within the speech are going to be the budget, economic development and education,” Sandoval said. “Those are the three very important components for the future of the state.”

Here is what NPRI is looking for:

1. Performance-based budgeting. As NPRI’s “Better Budgeting for Better Results” study detailed last week, there’s a better way to budget than simply rolling up existing costs. Gov. Sandoval has suggested that he’s embraced some of the concepts of performance-based budgeting, so it’ll be informative to see how he’s incorporated performance-based budgeting in crafting his budget.

2. Controlling spending. If you’re interested in controlling taxes, it begins and ends with controlling spending.

3. Refuting education myths. Specifically, the myth that Nevada doesn’t spend enough. In the last 50 years, Nevada has nearly tripled inflation-adjusted, per-pupil spending, and our graduation rate is now 41.8 percent. A lack of funding is not the problem here.

4. Real education-reform proposals. Following Florida’s educational reform model isn’t the only way to improve education in Nevada, but it’s a proven way.

Sandoval’s aides have said that he’s going to propose a constitutional amendment to repeal Nevada’s Blaine Amendment, which would remove any constitutional problems with school vouchers. While Nevada would benefit from repealing the Blaine Amendment, that shouldn’t be the only substantive reform Sandoval proposes. There are a lot of other educational reforms that should be pursued as well.

5. Refute the myth that government creates jobs or should “direct” the economy. If asked directly, most liberals will acknowledge that private enterprise is the key to long-term economic growth. But then in the next breath, they’ll note how Nevada needs to decide what it wants to be when it grows up. Unfortunately, liberals don’t believe that individuals working to pursue their own self-interest need to make the decisions that affect our economy – they think the government needs to pick the winners and losers in the economy and decide which industries they are going to favor with tax and regulatory breaks.

What’s conveniently forgotten is that Nevada’s government has been trying to do this for the last umpteen years. How’s that worked out?

Nevada has taken a scattershot approach to economic development, which has resulted in numerous incentives that critics say dilute the state’s success. To point: More than a dozen studies have been commissioned in recent years to study how Nevada can diversify, with little coordination or overlap.

“A lot of people are working independently from each other, and I think it needs to be brought together under one vision,” former Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley said. “People need to not get distracted by ‘Oh! Let’s give the film industry an incentive. Let’s try this, let’s try that.’ We end up trying to cater to everybody and end up not accomplishing anything.” [Emphasis added]

So what’s Gov. Sandoval going to say? Come back at 6 p.m. tonight to find out.