In Depth, Right-Thinking Post-SOTS Analysis

On January 25, 2011, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

They said it couldn’t be done. Indeed, they were saying it throughout the campaign season. No way, no how could you balance Nevada’s budget without tax hikes. But as the saying goes, those who say something can’t be done ought to get out of the way of those who are doing it.

Last night, Gov. Brian Sandoval proposed a balanced budget without tax or fee hikes. Turns out it can be done after all.

Which reminds me.

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The Voucher Shot Heard ‘round the State

On January 25, 2011, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

This week is National School Choice Week, and in his State of the State address Monday night, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval called for “more parental choice,” including “vouchers to make private school education a possibility for more families.” To which Steve Sebelius of SlashPolitics wrote:

“On education, Sandoval mentioned vouchers for private schools, but not the fact that a voucher equal to the state’s current per-pupil expenditure will not enable poor children to afford tuition at many private schools. And, as Sandoval has already acknowledged, vouchers cannot be used for religious schools in Nevada until the state constitution is changed, a five-year process.”

No, a voucher in the amount of $5,000 will not enable poor children to attend the more expensive and elite private schools in Nevada; however, that amount WOULD be enough, more than enough in some cases, to attend other existing private schools. At the very least, it would help many parents on the “bubble” between being able to afford a private school and not being able to afford a private school.

In addition,

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Truckers Not Part of Tax-Hike Coalition

On January 24, 2011, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

As it turns out, that “construction industry” group announced with much fanfare last week calling for tax hikes to fund public works construction projects included at least one member of the coalition that, well, never agreed to be a member. Paul Enos, lobbyist for the trucking industry in Nevada, issued the following statement this morning:

Last week the Nevada Motor Transport was mistakenly added as a member of the Building Jobs Coalition of Nevada. While there are components of the plan that we are supportive of, ultimately true and lasting economic growth will only occur from private sector expansion and not from short term public works programs.

While there are many infrastructure projects that make a tremendous amount of sense, Nevada will strengthen its position and business climate if we can identify essential government services and pursue infrastructure projects that have the highest return for our tax dollars.

Jobs in the construction industry are important, but so are jobs in mining, gaming, healthcare, banking, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, warehousing, logistics and of course trucking. As we prepare for the 2011 legislative session we must keep in mind that harming one industry sector to benefit another makes Nevada weaker.

It is too important not to repeat, it is private sector expansion that will pull our state and country out of this economic morass.

It’s easy to show a widespread coalition of support…when you don’t actually ask people to join and just add their names to your list. Not surprisingly, this coalition is primarily a union operation, which means truth and honesty aren’t necessary.

 

GOP Legislators: Dude, Where’s My Backbone?

On January 24, 2011, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

What in the world are Republicans in the Nevada Legislature waiting for…a written invitation?

Look, our Republican governor will tonight deliver his first State of the State address in which he will affirm that the state’s budget must be balanced with existing tax revenues. NO – NEW – TAXES. Or fees.

But as Steve Sebelius of SlashPolitics noted this morning, “a budget of $5.3 billion isn’t acceptable to Democrats. So they will seek to raise some taxes, perhaps to at least keep pace with the existing budget.”

“If things go that way,” Sebelius continues, “the endgame of the 2011 session is foreshadowed tonight: A coalition of Democrats and a few Republicans – at least three in the state Senate and two in the Assembly – passing a budget that includes taxes over Sandoval’s eventual veto (and) an override vote…”

I don’t know how to make this any clearer.

While Democrats enjoy majority status in both the Senate and the Assembly, they do NOT have the 2/3 super-majority they need in either house to raise taxes without some Republican votes. And as the Republican governor prepares to deliver his SOS speech tonight, he STILL does not know if legislative Republicans are with him…or with their Democrat opponents.

Would somebody PLEASE explain to me why Republican Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness and Republican Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea haven’t issued a definitive statement on behalf of every Republican legislator that they are backing their Republican governor 100%…and that not one of them will even consider voting for higher taxes or fees unless the Democrats can persuade Gov. Sandoval to propose them?

Seriously.

Why aren’t Republican legislators publicly and forcefully joining as a bloc and supporting their Republican governor on a core GOP issue? The minute they do, they completely eliminate any chance for the end game that Mr. Sebelius foreshadows. With legislative Republicans taking tax hikes completely off the table, legislative Democrats will have no choice but to negotiate the budget on the governor’s and the GOP’s terms, not theirs.

That Republican legislative leaders can’t seem to grasp the power they actually possess if they’d only use it is all we need to know to explain why they continue to languish as the minority party in the Legislature.

If you have a moment today, why not shoot Sen. McGinness and Assemblyman Goicoechea an email and ask them why they aren’t supporting Gov. Sandoval’s no-new-taxes budget plan.

Sen. McGinness
mmcginness@sen.state.nv.us
Assemblyman Goicoechea
pgoicoechea@asm.state.nv.us

 

School Choice without Choice

On January 24, 2011, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

It’s national School Choice Week this week, and in a recent op/ed published by the LVRJ, Clark County School Superintendent Dwight Jones wrote that “School choice is far more than charter schools, and in order to meet all students’ needs, we must provide as many avenues to education as possible.

Mr. Jones notes that “Nevada’s empowerment school model is a good start at providing options” but “we can – and need to – do more, whether via charter schools, online programs, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate course work, experiential learning activities, and on.”

What about vouchers? Isn’t that an alternative avenue to education?

“The school board members have said they are not supportive of vouchers,” Mr. Jones explained in a separate interview in the LV Sun. So in other words, we have to provide students with as many avenues to education as possible, as long as they are completely controlled by the government.

Some choice.

 

Whiny Teacher

On January 24, 2011, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

Clark County teacher Nancy O. Agustin inked a letter-to-the-editor which was published in the LVRJ in which she whines that teachers did not get a pay raise last fall while thousands upon thousands of Nevadans in the private sector were losing their jobs altogether. Ms. Agustin said that she and her colleagues felt “insulted” and many of them are now “looking at other professions and other jobs in other states.”

Good luck with that. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Spoiled little cry-baby.

 

Spelling Tax in Nevada: F-E-E

On January 24, 2011, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

Last week, Nevada’s government bureaucrats jacked up certain “fees” (taxes) charged to operate a medical facility through the roof. The cost to run a hospital in rural Nevada is jumping from $1,500 to almost $10,000! The fee for urban hospitals is jumping from $10,000 to almost $15,000.

The revenue from these fees (taxes) is earmarked to hire more government workers to inspect medical facilities every 12 to 18 months. “Inspections are appropriate and needed,” declared Health and Human Services director Mike Willden. “Nobody wants to go into a place that isn’t safe.”

However, to pay for the new sky-high fees (taxes), medical facilities say they might have to lay people off. So this is really nothing more than a redistribution of labor from the productive private sector to the unproductive regulatory public sector.

The excuse for raising the fees (taxes) on hospitals and other medical facilities, of course, is to “protect the public.” But if the objective is to protect the general public and the inspections are an effective and legitimate way to do that, then shouldn’t the general public pay for the cost instead of sticking it to the businesses being regulated by the government?

As Sen. John Lee (D-Las Vegas) put it: “I know patient safety is the total overall purpose of what we are doing. But in Nevada, how do you spell tax? F-E-E.”

 

Chicken Lady was Right

On January 24, 2011, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

Last spring, Sue Lowden’s campaign for the U.S. Senate jumped off the tracks over comments she made about negotiating for less expensive heath care with your doctor by paying cash. The point was twisted to make it look like Lowden was promoting paying “chickens for check-ups” in this modern era as an alternative to ObamaCare.

In any event, paying less by paying cash is absolutely a growing alternative, as detailed in this Las Vegas Sun story.

 

(Chuck Muth) – On Friday, Sen. Jim DeMint announced that he was joining a boycott of the oldest, largest, most successful annual conservative conference in the universe next month: CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference).

Why? Because out of a hundred or so sponsors and vendors covering an exhibit hall the size of a football field or two…one of them is a conservative organization he and a few others believe to be a menace to the conservative movement.

“With leading conservative organizations not participating this year,” DeMint’s spokesman told Politico, “Senator DeMint will not be attending.”

Leading conservative organizations aren’t participating this year? Really?

Well, I just checked and here’s a partial list of leading conservative organizations which ARE listed as participating in CPAC this year as sponsors, co-sponsors and vendors:

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