‘Nevada’ articles

‘Mother-May-I?’ attitude in Nevada laws
quashing low-income entrepreneurship

The State of Nevada regularly presents itself to the world as a place where government is less overbearing and regulation-obsessed than most.

But how true is that?

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development, for example, touts Nevada as “A very business-friendly state, with state and local governments committed to streamlining approval processes and remaining a very low-regulation environment.”

However, when lower-income Nevadans seek to work or start a business in several Silver State industries, they actually face some of the highest regulatory obstacles in the country.

Moreover, the primary purpose of those obstacles — evidence strongly suggests — is not to protect the public, but instead protect politically favored insiders from potential competitors.

An “occupational license,” simply stated, is government permission to work in a particular field. And of all American states, Nevada has the second-highest proportion of citizens licensed by the state to work in their fields. Only Iowa has a higher percentage, according to a 2016 study jointly produced by the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers and Treasury and Labor departments.

Proportion of low-income citizens licensed is an important statistic: The more that states like Nevada require licenses in lower-income occupations, the more those states discourage low-income entrepreneurship.

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CATO Institute gives Nevada Governor an ‘F’

Calls Sandoval’s heavy taxes for all businesses, with big breaks
for those favored by politicians, a ‘prescription for corruption’

LAS VEGAS — A national report card on fiscal policies pursued by America’s governors has rated Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval one of the worst governors in the nation.

The free-market oriented Cato Institute, in its 2016 edition of its annual fiscal-policy report card, notes Sandoval “came into office promising no tax increases,” but then, after getting safely reelected, “made a U-turn in 2015 and signed into law the largest package of tax increases in Nevada’s history at more than $600 million per year.”

“The worst part of the package,” wrote economist Chris Edwards, Cato’s director of tax policy studies, “was the imposition of a whole new business tax in Nevada, the Commerce Tax.”

Noting that the “new tax has numerous deductions and 27 different rates based on the industry,” Edwards also points out the tax “is complex, distortionary, and hidden from the general public.

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Metro pushes for even more ‘More Cops’ taxes

Enlists powerful tourism committee in bid for higher, longer taxation

LAS VEGAS — To get Clark County voters to pass the 2004 “More Cops” sales-tax ballot measure, Metro’s then-sheriff and other local-government officials repeatedly and very publicly promised the funds would only be used to put more police on the street.

Nevada lawmakers early the next year made the same pledge and even wrote it into state law.

Ten years later, however, lawmakers and Metro both quietly, but explicitly, broke that promise.

The pledge was removed from state law and Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee was authorized to spend More Cops dollars, not for new hires but to meet other rising costs — such as record and rapidly escalating police retirement benefits.

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Is Nevada work comp legit?

Truncated health-provider networks increase insurers’ control over doctors

Line up all the problems with Nevada’s workers’ comp system that injured workers will tell you about, and it’s easy to begin to wonder:

Is this system really on the level?

The question haunts the Nevada Legislature this session as lawmakers consider AB187. The bill would restore to injured workers the right to select their own treating physicians — a right lawmakers took away in 1993.

Overtly, the issue before legislators is whether reversing that old decision — made as bankruptcy loomed over the profligate state industrial insurance system of that era — would have the dire consequences for Nevada’s current work comp system that insurer lobbyists prophesy today.

More veiled, however, but definitely on the minds of legislators, is the question of whether that 1993 decision has, in retrospect, had the effect of fundamentally rupturing the so-called “grand bargain” that workers’ comp traditionally has been said to embody.

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Supreme Court case bears
on bill before Legislature

Big work-comp administrator firm committed fraud, say briefs before court

As the Nevada Legislature ponders allowing injured workers to once again choose their doctors, a case now before the state’s high court suggests the current ban on such choice may be facilitating fraud.

The legislation before the current session is Assembly Bill 187, sponsored by 15 assembly members and three state senators.

It aims to greatly expand the universe of qualified medical providers authorized to provide medical care within the state’s industrial insurance system, and — from that greatly expanded list — let injured workers, once again, select their own doctors. That is a right lawmakers eliminated in 1993.

The case at the Nevada Supreme Court bearing on this issue is Reeves v. Division of Industrial Relations and Nevada Department of Administration, case No. 62468.

Evidence submitted to the court by appellant Susan Reeves and her attorney, the latter told the court, shows a 2004 instance of clear fraud by one of Nevada’s largest third-party administrators of workers’ comp claims — Cannon Cochran Management Services (CCMSI), under contract at the time to Bally’s Resort Hotel & Casino, a property of Caesar’s Entertainment.

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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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Two released after Lovelock, Nevada rescue

Mother, 1 child discharged from hospital after rescue in bitter cold Nevada wilderness

RENO, Nevada (AP) — A mother and her youngest child were discharged Wednesday from a Nevada hospital a day after being rescued with four other group members who were stranded for two days in a bitter cold mountain wilderness when their Jeep rolled over.

The father of the girl and three other young members of the couple's families were also doing "remarkably well" but will remain a bit longer for observation at the hospital in Lovelock, Dr. Douglas Vacek said.

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Tahoe homeowners still view
TRPA as frustrating, indifferent

Survey: High proportion find dealing with it ‘futile’

LAS VEGAS — The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is winning national awards from government-planning professionals, but among homeowners in the five counties surrounding Lake Tahoe, it’s the least popular local government agency of all.

Seventy percent of homeowners in the Lake Tahoe Basin said TRPA would not take their concerns very seriously and 47 percent expressed much frustration with TRPA.

When poll respondents reporting minimal experience with the agency were excluded from the calculations, the negatives went up — to 72 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

In every case, TRPA’s negative numbers are significantly higher than those of other local government agencies in the Basin and higher still when compared to the attitudes of homeowners just outside the basin.

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Environmentalism vs. the environment

Tahoe hostility to development ensured lake pollution for decades

LAS VEGAS — The Lake Tahoe Basin — its residents are ceaselessly told — has suffered much environmental damage over the decades.

Rarely mentioned, however, is a remarkable fact: Much of the damage has actually been at the hands of the lake’s ostensible protectors.

While this reality is only occasionally acknowledged, it’s a critical part of basin history and needs to be known if the Tahoe environment is to flourish.

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Feds' war on Western ranchers'
water rights takes a body blow

Judge refers BLM, USFS officers for potential criminal prosecution, shames DOJ lawyers

LAS VEGAS — Out in the American West, it’s not hard to find ranchers who’ll tell you that federal land agencies and U.S. Justice Department lawyers have in recent decades been working to destroy family ranching as a way of life.

Late last month, however, those ranchers — ignored and discounted though they’ve generally been — got, for their argument, some very high-powered ammunition.

Naturally enough, it came right out of the heart of the decades-long, high-profile litigation between the U.S. government and the family of the late E. Wayne Hage, author and property-rights advocate.

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