Solutions 2013

Executive Summary

Solutions 2013 covers 39 subject areas and is a comprehensive sourcebook for lawmakers, candidates and citizens who are interested in policy solutions.

As the name implies, these are the solutions for the issues facing Nevadans — from taxes to education, from energy to labor, from economic development to higher education, and many more.

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When current and would-be policymakers look ahead to the 2013 Nevada Legislature, the challenges facing the Silver State are truly daunting.

America's Great Recession still takes its heaviest toll within our borders. Not only national mistakes, however, are behind this. It's also a legacy of bad decisions by previous state legislatures.

Unemployment remains in double digits. The state's high school graduation rate now trails those of all other states. Nevada taxpayers spend more on education than do taxpayers of neighboring states, yet student test scores are among the region's worst. The state's two flagship universities graduate only 12 percent of their students within four years.

Medicaid costs are increasing at an unsustainable rate — a problem that will worsen greatly, should ObamaCare's mandates take effect. Nevada's Public Employees' Retirement System is dramatically underfunded, and the contributions required to even attempt restoring its solvency are already damaging local governments' ability to provide basic services. The quality of state services, too, has fallen — even as Nevadans' tax burden has increased.

In short, the state of our beloved state is a mess.

Finding a way through such a thicket of interrelated problems is not an easy task. That's why it's with such pride that I present Solutions 2013 — a compilation of the best research and policy recommendations on these and many other issues. My colleague and NPRI's deputy policy director, Geoffrey Lawrence, has worked tirelessly on these questions for months, devouring position papers and journal articles and consulting the best policy minds in the nation.

The result is a sourcebook of solutions that, if followed, will ensure a return to prosperity in Nevada.

I hope that you will recognize this document for what it is: a resource for any policymaker or legislative candidate who is serious about solving the Silver State's many problems. Shortcomings in current policy design are highlighted and ways to overcome them are spelled out. Many of the entries cite draft legislation already created. All can be submitted directly by reform-minded policymakers as bill draft requests for the new legislative session.

This collection dispels many popular misconceptions about Nevada, while highlighting new approaches to policymaking. My hope is that, regardless of where your political sympathies may lie, you will consider these ideas on their merits.

Our state still has an exceedingly bright future. It just requires some intelligent solutions.


Andy Matthews
Nevada Policy Research Institute

 Read the full study (7.2 MB)

Download file View the cover and read the foreword and table of contents
Download file Read the chapters on budget, taxation and public debt
Download file Read the chapters on K-12 education, higher education and hear Nevadans speak
Download file Read the chapters on health care, labor, industry and commerce
Download file Read the chapters on public safety, energy, transportation and federalism

Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.