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No Jumping for Joy Over Krolicki’s New Nevada Task Force

Oh, joy. Another task force to study ways to diversify Nevada’s economy. At least this one doesn’t have the word “stakeholder” in its description.

We give Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki kudos for daring to go where all manner of men and women have already gone before with his New Nevada Task Force and wish him luck in his mission. But we can’t help but look at the membership list and ask “Why?”

OK, if the objective here is purely political, the membership roster makes sense. But if it’s a serious attempt to really diversify the economy rather than continue to allow gaming and mining to dominate the state’s economy, why would you, for example, waste two of your task force slots with representatives from…gaming and mining? Why not fill those slots with people from industries we DON’T have here.

And since unions don’t create jobs – they either leech off of others who create jobs or kill them outright – why put the head of the state’s AFL-CIO on the task force instead of someone who, you know, actually knows how to create jobs and bring in new businesses and industries?

Equally puzzling is why two representatives of Nevada’s education establishment – Dorothy Gallagher of University Board of Regents and Joyce Haldeman of the Clark County School Board are on the task force.

I imagine because of this notion that businesses don’t move here because of our lousy public schools. But if that’s true, why add two people who have been part of the problem and are partially responsible for the present condition of our mediocre government schools? Why not put some people on the task force who embrace serious and dramatic education reforms – like school choice.

Real school choice. Meaning vouchers (you can call them “scholarships” if you prefer). Like what they have in Ohio.

In the June 2010 issue of The School Choice Advocate, Elizabeth and Todd Delman of Columbus, Ohio, explain that while they had career opportunities in other states they decided to stay in Columbus because of Ohio’s EdChoice program which allows them to send their children to an otherwise unaffordable local Jewish academy compliments of publicly-funded scholarships (vouchers).

In other words, the Delmans wouldn’t move to Las Vegas because they would then be forced to send their kids to one of our public schools since our state doesn’t offer scholarships (vouchers) and they wouldn’t be able to afford the tuition at a private school without them.

So if workers such as Elizabeth and Todd Delman won’t move to Nevada because we don’t have school vouchers why would companies who currently employ workers with children, workers such as the Delmans, relocate here?

Under the circumstances, rather than place members of the current failed government-run school system on the task force, wouldn’t it make more sense to include someone like Assemblyman Ed Goedhart (R-Amargosa Valley); someone who runs a business that has nothing to do with mining or gaming (he runs the state’s largest dairy operation) and who introduced a statewide universal voucher bill last legislative session?

Other members of the task force are readily recognizable names – names of people who have been around the state and its politics for many, many years. Or put another way, people who have been around for a long, long time but haven’t been able to fix the problem. Wouldn’t it make more sense to bring in some “new blood” – people with new ideas who will look at the challenges with a new set of eyes – rather than the same old people?

I’m all for Krolicki’s effort to find new ways to diversify the state’s economy; however, if the folks on the task force are part of the status quo – or worse, defenders of it – the New Nevada Task Force is going to end up being as big a failure as all the old ones.