Frequently Asked Questions (and Hysterical Allegations) Regarding TASC

Executive Summary

Executive summary

A nonpartisan research and educational organization, the Nevada Policy Research Institute does not advocate the election of specific political candidates or the passage of specific legislative or constitutional measures.

Nevertheless, on the level of policy the Institute is not neutral. Three hundred years of experience demonstrate overwhelmingly that the free market is the most powerful engine of economic prosperity that mankind has ever known. Likewise, the bloody history of the 20th Century establishes beyond question that faith in a benevolent, all-powerful state is grievously misplaced. Rather, it is the principles of the American Revolution — individual liberty, limited government, free markets and the rule of law — that offer the paradigm for a genuinely enlightened society.

For these reasons, the Institute focuses upon Nevada public policy issues that have a significant potential to either strengthen or weaken the Silver State's historic legacy of individual liberty.

The Tax and Spending Control (TASC) amendment currently proposed for the Nevada Constitution is clearly a measure of such significance. This is the one point on which advocates and opponents alike agree.

If voters approve TASC, the routine growth of government spending at both state and local levels will be constitutionally limited to a rate approximating the growth of Nevada's economy — specifically, the pace of population growth combined with that of inflation.

Even so, government will still be able to grow faster if voters consent. Essentially, TASC puts voters in charge of deciding how big their tax burden — and their government — should be. If future Nevada politicians want to increase taxes and spend above normal TASC limits, they will have to first convince voters.

In principle, the idea behind TASC is a good one: As America's Founders taught us, a healthy civil society — indeed, the rule of law itself — requires firm limitations on the reach and power of government. Moreover, as the analyses in this report reveal, many of the objections to TASC turn out, upon inspection, to be surprisingly hollow.

Nonetheless, not all of them do. Unavoidably in human affairs, choice entails assessing prospective benefits and risks alike.

Is TASC, finally, worth the candle? The people of Nevada will make that judgment. NPRI offers this review of the arguments.

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Steven Miller

Senior Vice President, Nevada Journal Managing Editor

Steven Miller is Nevada Journal Managing Editor, Emeritus, and has been with the Institute since 1997.

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.