There are many alternatives to burying used fuel from commercial reactors beneath Yucca Mountain.
Few students are happy to return to school after summer vacation, but Nevada students unlucky enough to attend one of the state’s many failing government schools have especially good reason to feel upset: Despite well-meaning “reforms” and massive infusions of additional funding, the Silver State’s government-education system continues to demonstrate little real ability to perform its basic mission.
Politicians, developers and sports fans in Las Vegas and Reno are pushing to build new baseball stadiums in their cities. Earlier this month the Las Vegas City Council chose the Southwest Sports Group, a Dallas-based firm, to lead “redevelopment” efforts for a 61-acre parcel of land downtown. The company has plans for a publicly funded stadium for the Las Vegas 51s, the city’s Triple A team. In Reno, the city council will soon decide whether to pursue a publicly funded stadium for one of two California clubs looking to relocate to the Truckee Meadows: the Visalia Oaks (Single A) or Tacoma Rainiers (Triple A). As is the case in cities throughout America, Nevada’s pro-stadium voices are extolling the economic benefits of publicly funded sports complexes. But there is substantial evidence that the economic impact of stadiums is exaggerated. Herewith, a look at the reasons why Nevada taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize baseball stadiums.
During the 2001 legislative session, the Silver State’s lawmakers are unlikely to approve the Nevada State Education Association teacher union’s proposal for a business-profits tax. But the near-universal opposition to the union’s plan is ironic, since few—if any—legislators disagree with the justification offered for the new tax: the “need” to spend more money on Nevada’s government schools. Last week, Senator Ray Rawson, a member of the Legislature’s Education Committee, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “To get schools that are above average, you have to pay above average.” In December, the Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston wrote of Governor Guinn’s “obvious desire to increase education funding.” It appears that the notion that schools will improve through increased funding is firmly rooted in Nevada. Sadly, it’s perhaps the most persistent myth in American public policy, a falsehood which does great damage to the cause of meaningful education reform. Herewith, a brief overview of the conclusive proof that no link exists between increased spending and increased student achievement.
The train purchased by Amtrak to reestablish connection between Las Vegas and Los Angeles is finally in service. There’s only one problem: It’s serving the residents of Seattle and Vancouver. The plan to link Las Vegas to Los Angeles with a Talgo train is behind schedule, and Amtrak has allowed its Seattle-to-Vancouver route to borrow the vehicle. Yet despite this latest Amtrak failure, many officials from Southern Nevada’s public and private sectors continue to believe that taxpayers should fund the costs of connecting Southern Nevada and Southern California by rail. Herewith, a look at how Amtrak fleeces taxpayers, and an overview of the problems with a much-hyped “superspeed” train that might be built between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Last month President Clinton signed a bill which authorized the sale of 6,500 acres of federally controlled land in Ivanpah Valley to Clark County. The county plans to use the land to build a new airport. With a target opening date of 2009, the facility will serve cargo carriers and charter flights, and reduce demand at McCarran Airport, which is scheduled to reach its passenger capacity in 2010. Yet the most promising tool to improve air travel in Nevada remains largely overlooked by transportation planners: privatization. Herewith, and examination of airport-privatization successes elsewhere, and a look at how market-oriented reforms can ensure that Nevada’s airports meet the needs of customers, not politicians.
The belief that development is destroying Americans’ quality of life runs rampant in our culture. And given the population booms in Nevada's two metropolitan regions, it is easy to see why citizens in the Silver State are concerned about the negative effects of growth, from traffic congestion to air pollution. In Nevada and elsewhere, left-wing environmentalists and anti-business activists have seized on the downsides of sprawl to push an agenda they call “smart growth.”
Dozens of states have implemented or are seriously considering voucher programs, and courts continue to affirm that school choice is constitutional. But in the ongoing debate over improving education in Nevada, the word “voucher” is conspicuously absent.
Nevada's politicians, like their counterparts across the nation, seek to draw information-technology (IT) firms to their state, as well as foster the creation of native IT enterprises. It's little wonder why such businesses are attractive to legislative careerists -- "dot coms" and other New Economy firms pay their employees well. The American Electronics Association reports that high-tech workers earn an average salary of $53,000, a figure which is 80 percent higher than salaries in other industries. Yet few of these quality jobs exist in Nevada. A recent survey which examined the percentage of technology-related employment for each state ranked Nevada a dismal 45th. Unfortunately, the state's elected officials and bureaucrats are doing very little to fix this problem -- in fact, they're making things worse.