‘Fiscal’ articles

LV Metro comps Culinary Union over
$195,000 in police costs in 9 months

Simultaneously pushes a tax increase on Clark County residents

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas Metro for the last year has loudly lobbied public officials for a sales tax increase and — claiming poverty — has even reduced its public law-enforcement activity.

All the while, however, the department was also gifting Culinary Union Local 226 with over $195,000 worth of free police services.

That’s enough to cover total compensation for two officers that the department says it needs. Or it could fund police response to many of the traffic accidents Metro recently began ignoring.

From June 14, 2013, to March 8, 2014, Metro’s staffing of the Culinary Union’s regular protests outside the Cosmopolitan cost taxpayers $204,549.60, police records show.

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Margin tax could mean the death of
long-time Las Vegas construction firm

Owner sees tax forcing her to shut down, lay off 70 employees

LAS VEGAS — After 16 years, a Las Vegas-based construction company that weathered the Great Recession could be forced to close and layoff its roughly 70 hard-working employees.

Only recently, Renee Newman and her husband had reason to hope that their construction company — which Newman asked not be named publicly for fear of retaliation — could break even and maybe even turn a small profit this year.

Since the economic downturn of 2008 and the accompanying construction-industry crisis, the couple has taken every cost-saving measure possible, from reducing their own pay, to cutting employee salaries, to layoffs. For the past three years, the company has been in the red and Newman’s family has filled the gaps with their own savings.

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Small business owner: Margin tax
would impose 32% marginal tax rate

Threat of hefty tax offers new incentive to keep revenues low

The proposed margin tax would impose a 32% marginal tax rate on Frank Friedlander, owner of Las Vegas Window Tinting.

LAS VEGAS — Come November, the fate of Nevada business owners — big and small — will be in the hands of voters.

For family-owned businesses like Las Vegas Window Tinting, the stakes are high: the imposition of the margin tax would slap owners Frank and Lelia Friedlander with an additional $24,000 tax bill.

Unlike a corporate income tax, the proposed two-percent margin tax would be levied on the revenue that passes through businesses’ registers, not the profit left over after bills are paid. This means struggling businesses stand to lose all of their profit, or worse, end up losing money at a time when many Nevada job-creators are still trying to fully recover from the Great Recession.

“We’re just getting back now,” Frank said, explaining that his company “made it through the recession but barely made it through the recovery because it was so long.”

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Pay of Nevada’s public-school employees,
versus private sector, is 4th highest in U.S.

BLS data shows 17 point gap between K-12 and private sector income in Nevada

LAS VEGAS — As teacher union activists push for a heavy new tax on Nevada’s private-sector employers, federal data is showing that the state’s public K-12 education sector is actually doing far better, financially, than the state’s private sector.

Moreover, the gap is so large that it’s the fourth biggest in the country.

Nevada Journal — building on work recently published in the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal by Executive Editor Don Carrington — this week accessed both the BLS.gov and the Silver State’s NevadaWorkforce.com websites to learn how well Nevada’s private sector is doing, versus the average state private sector nationally.

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Health trust CEO, financial consultant anxious about Obamacare's effect on finances

CEO says cash-strapped trust has 2.5 years 'if we do nothing,'
speculates on trust’s future with Obamacare regulations

LAS VEGAS  —  The Teachers Health Trust’s financial situation could grow even more precarious due to fees associated with the Affordable Care Act, says CEO Peter Alpert.

“There will be fees. There will be cost increases,” said Alpert. “[The Affordable Care Act is] a subject [on which] I’ll keep the rest of my comments to myself.”

Alpert’s remarks came during a March 19 news conference where he presented THT’s updated financial report and discussed the organization’s overall financial health.

THT, the main health insurance provider for Clark County School District teachers, has had its financial viability questioned over the past two months since Nevada Journal reported that a teacher union representative told members in a Jan. 29 closed-door meeting that the trust would go “belly-up in 60 to 90 days.”

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Left and Right agree: Film subsidies won't create 'useful industry' in Silver State

Motion-picture industry data shows Nevada is competitive in film industry without tax credits

LAS VEGAS — As Nevada lawmakers weigh different ways to attract new industries to the state, analysts on both ends of the political spectrum agree that one policy that shouldn’t be attempted is film subsidies.

“I don’t think they’ll create any useful industry in the state,” said Joe Henchman, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, a right-leaning organization that published a highly publicized study on film subsidies.

And in Louisiana, a report from a left-leaning watchdog organization, the Louisiana Budget Project, calls film tax credits “Costly Giveaways to Hollywood” that “Louisiana lawmakers ought to rein in.”

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Mob Museum fails to meet original
attendance expectations, dramatically
misses former mayor’s '800,000' mark

Taxpayer-funded museum projected to break even in first year of operations

LAS VEGAS — The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, also known as the Mob Museum, fell well short of its original 300,000-to-600,000 visitor projection, but did meet revised attendance projections with over 250,000 visitors in its first year of operations. It fell dramatically short of former mayor Oscar Goodman’s optimistic 800,000 projection.

“They tell me not to say that I believe 800,000 people will be down here, that I’m only supposed to say 500,000 or 400-to-800,000 people will be here,” said Goodman during last year’s grand opening.

The museum, which received $42 million in tax money from various local and federal funds, has a $3.5 million operating budget, according to Jonathan Ullman, the museum’s executive director. The average ticket price is $14.96, so 250,000 visitors allows the museum to make and surpass its breakeven target.

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Setting up the next CCSD
campaign for higher taxes

If tax increase passes, CCSD officials could ask to extend higher tax rate for 30 years

LAS VEGAS — If voters on Tuesday approve the six-year, $0.212 property-tax hike sought by the Clark County School District, they’ll also be opening the door to a possible 30-year lifespan for the new, higher tax rate.

CCSD officials want the tax hike for capital programs. If passed, the new tax will raise school district property-tax levies from $1.3034 per $100,000 assessed valuation to $1.5154.

Currently, property owners are assessed $0.75 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for CCSD general operations such as salaries, and $0.5534 for capital debt-service, more commonly referred to as the 1998 bond program. If voters approve the new tax Tuesday, property owners will be assessed $0.7654 for capital debt-service.

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Gyms planned by CCSD for rural
high schools would cost as much
as UNLV's Mendenhall Center

Proposed tax increase would give school of 244 a new $11.9 million gym

CCSD advocacy spending for Question 2 appears to violate state ethics law

District says private PAC will reimburse it for 'Vote Yes on 2' materials, employee costs

LAS VEGAS — The Clark County School District has spent the past month talking up Question 2, the "pay as you go" capital-improvement ballot question, but the district’s latest efforts may have crossed a line set by Nevada’s state ethics law.

About 10 days ago, CCSD mailed out 250,000 full-color “informational” brochures to parents.

The district, which is prohibited from using taxpayer dollars to support a ballot question, did pay for the brochures, acknowledged Cynthia Sell, CCSD's communications director, in an email to Nevada Journal.

"A brochure titled 'Pay-As-You-Go Plan for Capital Improvements,'" writes Sell, "was produced and paid for by CCSD."

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