a service of NPRI

May 11, 2005 
Vol. 1, No. 12

Nevada Taxpayers Association


An Inflation Debate Brews
Over Intangibles at the Mall

The Wall Street Journal

Critics Say U.S. Plays Down CPI Through
Adjustments For Quality, Not Just Price

WASHINGTON—To most people, when the price of a 27-inch television set remains $329.99 from one month to the next, the price hasn’t changed. 

But not to Tim LaFleur. He’s a commodity specialist for televisions at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government agency that assembles the Consumer Price Index. In this case, which landed on his desk last December, he decided the newer set had important improvements, including a better screen. After running the changes through a complex government computer model, he determined that the improvement in the screen was valued at more than $135. Factoring that in, he concluded the price of the TV had actually fallen 29%. 


Sales tax increase passes Nevada Senate panel
Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- A plan to increase sales taxes in southern Nevada to pay for more police cleared another legislative hurdle Tuesday.  

AB418 passed the Senate Taxation Committee on a 5-2 vote, with senators Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, and Sandra Tiffany, R-Las Vegas, voting "no."

Clark County voters last year approved an advisory question to hire more officers and fund the hiring with two quarter-cent increases in the sales tax that would raise the tax in the county to 8 percent by 2009. The Legislature has final say on the tax increase.


Assembly Ds say DMV rebate not legally 'viable'
Associated Press

Perkins 'horribly concerned'

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- The Nevada Assembly's Democratic leaders said Tuesday that based on advice from their legal counsel they have doubts about the viability of Gov. Kenny Guinn's plan to rebate up to $300 to Nevadans for their vehicle registrations.

Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, said the plan could result in Nevadans having to pay part of their rebate to the federal government.


Government employee special protections bill faces opposition
Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP)—Filing a false complaint against a public employee would be a misdemeanor under a bill backed Monday by police—but criticized by others who said it would create a privileged class of Nevadans and have a chilling effect on whistleblowers.  

SB150 was sought by Sen. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, whose husband works as a state parole and probation officer.


WHY BusinessNevada

Lawmakers maneuver to
block initiative petitions

Would shut off avenue of citizen redress

By Steven Miller
Business Nevada

“We don’t want to become another California,” is the cliché of the moment at the Nevada Legislature.

It’s the explanation regularly offered by lawmakers for the numerous draft bills they’re sending to each other that would hobble and obstruct the 100-year-old initiative and referendum process in Nevada. And that's a process that the Nevada business community may well need, if it is going to protect itself from recent and future tax increases.


At Teamsters conference, dissidents warn of death of labor movement

By Josh Gerstein
The New York Sun

LAS VEGAS — Addressing a Teamsters conference here Monday, five chiefs of major labor unions urgently called for sweeping reforms to the country’s largest labor federation, the AFL-CIO, and dismissed as woefully inadequate the restructuring plan put forward by the labor group’s president, John Sweeney.

In a series of salty and at times profane speeches to hundreds of Teamsters officials and organizers from across the country, the dissident labor chiefs warned that the labor movement is approaching irrelevancy.

“I honestly believe it, and I’m ashamed to say it: The labor movement is on life support,” the president of the Laborers, Terence O’Sullivan, said.


Union again seeks to use shareholders against Station
Las Vegas Review-Journal

A pair of independent advisory firms that offer proxy voting suggestions to institutional shareholders has recommended favorable votes on three union-backed proposals that would change the corporate governance structure at Station Casinos.

Company shareholders are considering three changes in the bylaws of Station Casinos backed by Culinary Local 226, a UNITE HERE affiliate that owns about 260 shares of the company’s stock. Voting results will be announced at the company’s annual shareholder meeting May 18 at Green Valley Ranch Station.


State senator backs
off property rights bill
Associated Press

Faced with strong opposition from environmentalists and local officials, Sen. Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, has backed off from his proposal to prohibit governments from seizing private property for use as open space.


Real wages fall at
fastest rate in 14 years
Financial Times

Real wages in the US are falling at their fastest rate in 14 years, according to data surveyed by the Financial Times.

Inflation rose 3.1 per cent in the year to March but salaries climbed just 2.4 per cent, according to the Employment Cost Index. In the final three months of 2004, real wages fell by 0.9 per cent.

The last time salaries fell this steeply was at the start of 1991, when real wages declined by 1.1 per cent.


SBA looks to weed out fake 'disadvantaged' companies
LV Business Press

Jeanne Jones says she is thrilled that the U.S. Small Business Administration is taking steps to weed out companies falsely claiming to be small or disadvantaged businesses.

As a certified disadvantaged business owner, the Las Vegan doesn’t have much sympathy for pretenders. The entrepreneur predicts the legitimately disadvantaged firms will benefit from recent SBA moves to correct the problem. Those measures are designed to stop the so-called “self-certifying.” While never legally certifying themselves, some businesses were simply marking off all the disadvantaged business categories on a federal database. Those companies could then market themselves to federal contractors as being certified disadvantaged. It would then be up to the contractors to cross reference with the SBA’s database.



Another late restatement
from the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve said that it made an omission in the Federal Open Market Committee statement released Tuesday afternoon. The Fed said it left out a sentence indicating that inflation expectations "remain well-contained." Economists had seized on the lack of such language as a sign that the Fed was more hawkish on inflation -- meaning that it would continue to hike interest rates.
- CBS Marketwatch 5/3/05

By Rob Peebles

For immediate release

(Note: This corrects previous release by clarifying a number of points which inadvertently were left un-clarified.)

The Federal Open Market Committee decided to raise its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 3 percent a couple of weeks ago while gathering around a free platter of oatmeal raisin cookies at a seminar titled “How to get rich in real estate with no money down.” We did announce the decision today, however.

The Committee believes that, even after this action, the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, and if you don’t believe us, walk down to your local bank and apply for a Home Equity Line of Credit and see if you takes you longer than six minutes to walk out with a check for twenty-five grand. The mortgage finance/real estate bubble, coupled with robust underlying growth in productivity is providing ongoing support to economic activity – after all it used to take a good half a day to borrow twenty-five Gs.

Recent data suggest that the solid pace of spending growth has slowed somewhat, partly in response to the earlier increases in energy prices which we still contend that we at the Fed have absolutely nothing to do with, however, we also believe that consumers are savvy enough to relieve this spending pressure with additional borrowing, maybe by buying one of those exercise machines that the long-haired guy sells on late night TV now that swimsuit season is here.



73rd Session 



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