Brian Sandoval, Man of the Hour?

Steven Miller

Who’s the one man in Nevada with the authority to immediately resolve the problems besetting parents who want to set up Education Savings Accounts?

It’s Gov. Brian Sandoval, who signed the legislation in June.

That’s what Victor Joecks, executive vice president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute told scores of frustrated parents Friday at a regulatory hearing conducted by the Nevada Treasurer’s Office.

“We certainly understand the angst over the 100-day requirement,” said Joecks. “But I would like to encourage everyone here who’s upset about that to contact the one elected official who can do something about this. And that person is Governor Sandoval.”

At the point that Joecks began to give out Sandoval’s office number — saying, “His officer number is 702…” — many in the audience laughed aloud.

“I’m serious,” continued Joecks. “702-486-2500. 702-486-2500. His northern office number is 775-684-5670. 775-684-5670.

“If you’re in Carson City today, the governor’s office is across the quad. I encourage you to visit, to hold rallies outside his office” — at which point the cheers and applause from the parents and others in the audience rose to a crescendo, threatened to drown Joecks out, leading him to pause.

“The governor has an office, I believe, right here in the Grant Sawyer building, too,” said Joecks, “so don’t think your voice can’t be heard in this hour.”

“The legislative session has ended, but there are rumors swirling that the governor will call a special session for tax-breaks to Faraday.” [Faraday Future is a California-based start-up electric car company currently mentioned in Southern Nevada news reports for a possible auto-construction plant in North Las Vegas.]

“If that happens, Gov. Sandoval has the ability to add Education Savings Accounts to the agenda, including eliminating the 100-day requirement entirely. He could also call a special session just for that.

“If ESA funding began in July of 2016, instead of April 2016, it would cost the state between a $100 and $150 million. But the money is there. It’s really about priorities.

“Lawmakers just passed a $7.3 billion budget, including the largest tax hike in Nevada history, and it was filled with tens of millions of dollars for anti-bullying problems, tens of millions of dollars for giving kids iPads, tens of millions of dollars for ineffective full-day and pre-K programs, hundreds of millions of dollars for wasteful class-size reduction programs, and even millions in business subsidies.

“And there’s also $32 million in car-tab taxes that Sandoval had originally put into the General Fund budget, that are now going to be going to the highway fund in 2016 and 2017.

“All of that money, about $64 million is scheduled to go into the highway fund.

“As I said: The money is there — it’s about priorities. So I urge everyone here who’s upset about this, whether it’s people at their school who are upset about this — if you’re a principal, if you’re an education leader, contact Gov. Sandoval. He is the one who can fix this.

“Thank you.”

Joecks’ recommendation received prolonged applause.

Steven Miller is managing editor of Nevada Journal, a publication of the Nevada Policy Research Institute. For more in-depth reporting visit http://nevadajournal.com and http://npri.org.

Steven Miller

Senior Vice President, Nevada Journal Managing Editor

Steven Miller is senior vice president at NPRI and has been full-time with the Institute since 1997. Steven also serves as managing editor for Nevada Journal, NPRI’s news operation, which is online at nevadajournal.com.

Steven graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Philosophy from Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna). Before joining NPRI, Steven worked as a news reporter in California and Nevada, and a political cartoonist in Nevada, Hawaii and North Carolina. For 10 years he ran a successful commercial illustration studio in New York City, then for five years worked at First Boston Credit Suisse in New York as a technical analyst. After returning to Nevada in 1991, Steven worked as an investigative reporter before joining NPRI.

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