Nevada Vision Stakeholder Group: Recap and where does it go from here?

Victor Joecks

Nevada Vision Stakeholder Group Chairman Robert Lang wants you to know he's from New York, not VirginiaNevada Vision Stakeholder Group Chairman Robert Lang

If you’ve followed any of the coverage of the Nevada Vision Stakeholder Group’s Friday meeting or Write on Nevada’s live blog, then you know that the NVSG rejected its and Moody’s Preliminary Executive Summary and is going to meet at least once more to confirm a new document.

For those who aren’t familiar with the NVSG, it’s a group comprised mainly of government officials, government employees (or union officials) and those receiving government handouts. The Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee created the NVSG to set five-, 10- and 20-year quality-of-life goals for Nevada that would require greater government spending. The legislature, led by Sen. Steven Horsford, would, in turn, use these calls for more government spending as political cover for its attempt to pass a tax increase, specifically a broad-based business tax, during the 2011 Legislative Session.

The Nevada Vision Stakeholder Group’s decision to meet again and demand that Moody’s (the NVSG’s consultant, which is writing the report) rewrite the report was unexpected.

From the NVSG’s first meeting in January 2010 (incidentally, the same month NVSG Chairman Robert Lang moved to Nevada from Virginia), its last meeting was going to be the May 14 meeting. Moody’s Analytics, the stakeholders, Chairman Lang and the public all expected this. So when Moody’s and the NVSG released the Preliminary Executive Summary early last week, I expected Chairman Lang to push it through.

A funny thing happened, though – thanks to good reporting by the RJ, stakeholder Doug Busselman’s comments, talk radio coverage from KDWN and KXNT and the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s commentary, the public found out about the report and wasn’t impressed at all.

This caused Chairman Lang to back away from the Executive Summary at the very beginning of the meeting. He even claimed it never called for tax increases (although it did call for government “investment” well over a dozen times). Lang then threw Moody’s under the bus: “All we have is an executive summary of a report that doesn’t exist.” Reflecting the consensus of the other members, he then demanded that Moody’s redo everything and produce a full report for the NVSG to vote on.

Chairman Lang and other big-government advocates retreated rhetorically at Friday’s meeting, but they retreated only in their words. The purpose and intent of the NVSG – providing political cover for tax increases in 2011 – still remains the same. I expect to see this at the NVSG’s next meeting. They have not scheduled it yet, but when they do, I will let you know.

Advocates of freedom and limited government should take heart that exposing the NVSG’s agenda has forced the NVSG into a temporary regrouping, but we shouldn’t be naïve and think we have won the battle over tax increases in 2011 yet.

The (political) fight’s only just begun.