The Left’s New Agenda: Minimum Wage Hikes and Unemployment Benefits Aren’t the Key to Prosperity

Capitalism did not create poverty—it inherited it,” observed individualist philosopher Ayn Rand. Over the past centuries, capitalism has eradicated the previous conditions of widespread famine and starvation and has elevated the living standards of the poor to a level previously unheard of, even for kings. Today, even low-income Americans commonly enjoy cell phones, automobiles, a… [More...]

Can Hollywood be ‘Caged’ in Nevada? Film-tax credit drew big-name supporters, but has shaky track record

The Nevada film-tax credit is essentially a financial bribe from Silver State taxpayers for film producers to shoot movies in Nevada.

He began: “My name is Nicolas Cage, and I am an American filmmaker.” On May 7th of this year, Cage appeared before a legislative committee to ask it to implement a film-tax credit in the State of Nevada. He argued that the lack of these tax credits was the only thing holding back a deluge… [More...]

Hold On to Your Wallet: Legislature Once Again Has Taxpayers Bracing for Another Hit

Hold On to Your Wallet: Legislature Once Again Has Taxpayers Bracing for Another Hit

No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session,” Mark Twain famously said while covering the biennial mess in Carson City. Despite Twain’s warnings, Nevada lawmakers are meeting once again, for the 77th regular legislative session, and Nevada taxpayers are realizing, once again, that their property is not safe. That’s… [More...]

Let’s Quit Killing Jobs in the Silver State: Legislators Should Remove Obstacles to Job Creation

Nevada’s unemployment rate has lingered at unacceptably high, double-digit rates for nearly four years. That uncomfortable statistic — reflecting deep human costs inflicted on many Nevada families — has led the state’s political class to make much ado about promoting “economic development.” During the 2011 legislative session, for example, lawmakers created a new “state framework”… [More...]

Taxpayers Don’t Prevail: Nevada’s prevailing wage law benefits narrow groups at public expense

Imagine you’re a plumber living in Mesquite. For most jobs, you’d probably earn as much as a plumber living in nearby St. George, Utah — $19.67 per hour, on average, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. If you can get work on a public works project financed by Clark County or the… [More...]

Back to Schools You Wouldn’t Choose: Nevada parents have been left behind in the school-choice movement

As Nevada’s children return to school this fall, many parents will again be frustrated, recognizing that their children will be relegated to sub-standard education. Parents who can’t afford to live in the wealthy neighborhoods that host the best public schools, and who can’t afford private-school tuition, will discover that the educational opportunities available to their… [More...]

What the Obamacare Decision Means for State Policymakers: Court gives states the option of financing congressional scheme

Few decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court have captured the public interest as did its June opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius. This long-anticipated ruling was widely perceived as the final judicial test for one of the most controversial acts of Congress in decades: the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare. The challenge centered… [More...]

Margins Tax Mayhem: Unions’ Tax Initiative Would Devastate Small, Struggling Businesses

Dollars

In a long-anticipated move, the hard-left union bosses of the Nevada AFL-CIO and the state teachers union marked D-Day this year by launching another assault against Silver State businesses. A ballot initiative filed by the unions would ask lawmakers to hammer businesses with a new margins tax and then earmark the money to directly benefit… [More...]

Texas Margin Tax: Always a Bad Idea: Margin Tax is More Destructive than Alternatives

Leaders in the Democratic majority during the 2011 state legislative session proposed a dramatic change to Nevada’s tax system: Phase out the Modified Business Tax — a tax on private-sector payroll — and replace it with a new, larger levy modeled after Texas’ business margin tax. The effort gained so little traction in Carson City… [More...]

Hiding Behind Opaque Numbers: Nevada PERS Accounting Practices are Concealing Taxpayers’ Real Liabilities

Nothing pleases a politician more than the ability to promise lavish benefits to important constituencies without having to pay for them. Nevada lawmakers long ago found a vote-buying cash cow of this nature in the state’s Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). PERS manages a defined-benefits pension system that operates much differently from the retirement funds… [More...]

How much is too much?: Government wages are extravagant and arbitrary

It’s one of the most challenging questions facing labor economists today: At what level should most public employees be paid? In public sector employment, the typical price signals that help determine wage rates in competitive labor markets are absent. After all, most government agencies do not compete in an open labor market wherein they must… [More...]

Taxes, Taxes & Taxes… Oh My!: Lawmakers trying to poach more from private industry

“Revenue solutions” are the talk of Carson City as the Nevada Legislature heads into its final week. Unsatisfied with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s newest proposals to hold state spending in the next budget cycle at a similar level to the current budget cycle, majority Democrats are pressing for more taxes on Silver State businesses, workers and… [More...]

Unions Prevail, While Most Nevadans Struggle: Prevailing wage laws cost taxpayers billions

In the 2011 Nevada Legislature, lawmakers in the majority are again carrying water for organized trade unions — from the Keynesian “jobs fund” proposal to the mercantilist “Nevada Jobs First” proposal. Longtime Nevada residents know this is nothing new. It began in the 1930s, when legislators first adopted the state’s prevailing wage requirements on public… [More...]

A Silver Lining Among the Storm Clouds: Recession drives better state budgeting practices

They say there’s a silver lining to every cloud. And Nevada currently faces a big cloud. Nevada is suffering through its deepest economic recession in generations. Its unemployment rate lingers above 14 percent — highest in the nation. If discouraged and underemployed workers is included, as was the practice during the Great Depression, Nevada’s effective… [More...]