a service of NPRI

June 15, 2005 
Vol. 1, No. 17

& Final Legislative Report - Courtesy,
Nevada Taxpayers Association



The $366 Billion Outrage

All across America, state and city workers are retiring early with unthinkably rich pay packages. Guess who's paying for it? You are.

By Janice Revell

Let's just call it what it is: Gaming the system. And it's a game that has already resulted in skyrocketing tax increases and the loss of public services across the country—from the shutdown of libraries and community centers to the gutting of many local police and fire departments.

It is also a game that is played in the nether regions of public finance, in the fine print of lengthy contracts that hardly anybody sees. As with so many other recent scandals—from Dick Grasso's $140 million pay package to CEOs of bankrupt airlines padding their own retirement accounts to big corporations manufacturing "earnings" that don't really exist—this one has to do with the generally ignored realm of pensions. But here the beneficiaries of the shell game may come as a surprise: school superintendents, librarians, sanitation workers, county clerks, and a host of other public servants. By now you can probably guess who's paying for it. That's right: you.


Win by saying
'I don’t know'

Lasting excellence in corporations seems to stem less from decisions about strategy than decisions about people

By Jerry Useem

When he’s not out scaling mountains (he’s a world-class rock climber), author Jim Collins eats, drinks, and sleeps business.

So when fortune senior writer Jerry Useem (a sometime Collins collaborator) asked him to discuss the art of decision-making, he got so into the idea that he pored over 14 years of research and interviews he had amassed in the course of writing his business blockbusters Built to Last and Good to Great.


Gates and Ozzie: How to Escape E-Mail Hell

Microsoft’s top geek and his newest tech guru explain why they love—and hate—e-mail, and how they plan to fix it.

By David Kirkpatrick

On a shelf in Bill Gates’ austere office at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., sits a crystal ball. It was an apt accouterment for the conversation FORTUNE’s David Kirkpatrick had there last month with Gates and top lieutenant Ray Ozzie—a 90-minute exploration of how technology will shape our working lives in the next decade.


they ring a bell

By Ted Geoca
Geonomic Advisors LLC

There has been a lot written on the housing bubble recently. On May 20, Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve made the statement that there is no national housing bubble, but then stated, “There are a lot of little bubbles around the country”.

Chairman Greenspan went on to tell the Economic Club of New York, “Without calling the overall national issue a bubble, it’s pretty clear that it’s an unsustainable pattern”. This is not the normal “Fed speak” The chairman is apprizing the investment community of the Fed’s concern in pretty plain language. There is evidence that the Fed has begun to move to contain the housing bubble using credit standards in place of interest rates. With a little noticed memo, several Federal regulatory agencies have begun a major crackdown on excessive home equity lending.


WHY BusinessNevada

A Bill of Rights for Nevada Taxpayers
Son of Runnymede

Recent legislatures generate new push to protect Nevadans' property rights

By Steven Miller

It was on this date, June 15, in the year 1215, that English barons forced a money-wasting and tax-happy king to stop abusing his power and acknowledge that they had rights he could not violate.

Beside the Thames River, on Runnymede Meadows, King John, at sword point, was forced to put his signature and royal seal beneath 63 promises to mend his ways. They were the 63 clauses of the Magna Carta.

It was the first real Bill of Rights. And it was intended, in large part, to preserve from royal predation the property of free men.

The American Bill of Rights, too, was intended to protect our rights, liberties and property from the predation of rapacious government.

“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy,” wrote the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson. “One’s right to life, liberty, and property… may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” (Emphasis added.)

Unfortunately, in Nevada today, the recognition of our rights of property clearly DOES depend upon the “vicissitudes” of politics. Every recent Legislature has become a workshop in schemes to prey upon Nevada businesses.

In 2003 it was the huge, long fight to plunder the Silver State with America’s most detested and destructive tax, a general Gross Receipts levy. Though that was defeated, the session still imposed a barely camouflaged income tax, camouflaged by routing it through employers and calling it a “payroll” tax. Then, this year, the promise of property tax relief for all was cynically turned into a discriminatory and unconstitutional split roll property tax on business.


Few Online ‘Canadian Pharmacies’ Based in Canada, says FDA

Study Finds Most Sites Are
Linked to U.S. Entities

By Brian Krebs
The Washington Post

Most Web sites that purport to sell quality, discounted prescription drugs from online stores in Canada appear to be controlled or owned by individuals or companies located outside Canada, including many in the United States, according to a study commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration.

Court: Pharmacists
Must Warn of Drug Risks

Associated Press

MIAMI -- A Florida appeals court has ruled for the first time that pharmacists can be held liable for failing to warn about risks associated with use of drugs, even if they are filling a doctor's prescriptions.


The study examined some 11,000 Internet pharmacies, finding that only about a thousand of those Web sites actually sold prescription drugs and that fewer than 25 percent were registered to or hosted by companies or individuals in Canada. Rather, the report concluded that most of the sites referred visitors to 1,009 online stores, 86 percent of which are currently hosted by companies located in the United States. Nearly 70 percent of the sites also were registered to U.S. citizens, and more than half of those sites are registered to a single Web design firm based in New England, which the publicly released version of the study did not identify.


Schwarzenegger Backs
Public Pension Reform

Governor remains committed to putting
public employees on private-sector footing

Budget & Tax News

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to promise public employee pension reform but has backed away from a proposal to move public employees out of traditional pensions and into a “defined contribution” plan.


A Powerful Partner

Longtime business ally leads governor’s initiative drive to rein in state spending

By Aurelio Rojas
Sacramento Bee

Growing up in the steel town of Beaver Falls near Pittsburgh, Allan Zaremberg learned change can be painful—even when it is for the greater good.


Suddenly, Cal assembly
poses as pro-business

Facing energized business coalition, Ds seek more moderate image

By Dan Walters
Sacramento Bee

A peculiar thing happened early this month as the Democrat-dominated state Assembly churned toward a deadline for initial approval of its members’ bills.


Higher Southern Nevada living costs are taking toll

Employers lament rising home prices

By Kevin Rademacher

For 12 years, Trudy Haszlauer has worked in the Southern Nevada human resources industry, and as home prices continue to soar, her job gets more challenging.

“I must admit, I’ve had a lot more rejections in the past few months, and I would attribute that absolutely to the cost of living,” said Haszlauer, a human resources strategic partner with Nevada Power Co. and its parent company, Sierra Pacific Resources.


Spending becomes farce
in Washington state

Democrats hike taxes $500 million, raise spending limit despite voter initiative

By Jason Mercier
Budget & Tax News

Exercising complete political control for the first time in years, Washington state Democrats pushed through a record $26 billion budget for the state’s 2005-07 budget cycle on April 24. The legislature relied on nearly half-a-billion dollars in tax increases and one-time revenue sources and left $200 million in reserve, less than 1 percent of the total budget.


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