The Nevada Piglet Book 2008

Executive Summary


After the 2003 Nevada Legislature passed the largest tax hike in state history, a state senator who played a central role in the increase seemed eager to discredit taxpayer criticisms. Scheduling a hearing for the public to supposedly suggest spending cuts, he set ground rules requiring so much expertise that only another state senator (an accountant) and a representative of the Nevada Taxpayer Association dared to speak.

But behind the general public's lack of testimony were important factors. How many citizens can make time to delve into the state's opaque, arcane, and often inaccurate documents? How many citizens want to risk being publicly insulted and embarrassed by powerful politicians justifying their big-spending ways? And in the case of government employees, how many would think it a good career move to publicly "out" their agencies?

The reality, of course, is that waste in Nevada is rampant, and until the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) began its current accountability project, state and local governments have been subject to virtually no consistent, independent oversight.

In the following pages, NPRI examines government waste from a new angle, reporting the results of months of open-records requests made of state agencies and local governments. Much of the data has been posted on a new website recently launched by NPRI – – while the stories behind some of the numbers have made their way into this 2008 Nevada Piglet Book.

NPRI has been greatly assisted in this effort by Citizens Against Government Waste. This booklet combines NPRI's in-depth and first-hand research into Silver State spending at multiple jurisdictional levels with the national insight and expertise of CAGW.

This year's publication is only the beginning.

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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.