Nevada’s Chronic Overspending and How to Deal With It

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

In recent decades a "Who Gets What" theory of government has come to dominate the State of Nevada.  As a consequence, state government has more and more degenerated into a tool for transferring some people's money into other people's pockets.

Facilitating this has been a effective neutralization of the Nevada constitution's separations-of-powers clause.  This has allowed tax-consuming public employees to increasingly write the laws that tell the rest of us what to do.  In the 2001 Assembly, government employees occupied every position of major power — a stranglehold on Nevada state government.

Because Nevada state agencies get very little oversight from the governor, the legislature, the news media or the academy, the executive branch is rife with wasteful state practices, lack of financial controls and recurrent episodes of expensive neglect.  These go on for decades and never get corrected.  NPRI fully documents these charges.

Though heavy new taxes are currently touted as the solution for Nevada, in fact they would merely avoid the real problem, while rewarding special interests that cannot be satisfied.

Recent American history shows that states that raise taxes to diminish budget shortfalls regularly end up with the worst rates of economic and income growth.  For Nevada to impose a bigger tax burden on business would be to throw away the state's bright economic future.

At least four ways of closing budget deficits exist, all of which are superior to raising taxes.  The best solution is cutting spending.  In addition, just two very modest pro-educational-choice reforms by the Nevada Legislature could save the state hundreds of millions of dollars annually:

  • Deconsolidate the Clark County and Washoe County school districts
  • Allow Nevada parents to choose where their children attend school

Finally, Nevada needs several long-term constitutional reforms to remove the sources of the current problem.

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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.