a service of NPRI

June 22, 2005 
Vol. 1, No. 18

& Final Legislative Report - Courtesy,
Nevada Taxpayers Association



Tax Limitation
Understanding the attacks on
Bills of Rights for taxpayers

By Dr. Barry Poulson
Americans for Prosperity

For the tax limitation movement, these are the best of times, and the worst of times.

Constitutional measures to limit the growth of state taxes and spending are under consideration in more than 20 states, and will likely be on the ballot in at least Ohio and Maine in the next year and a half.

Yet Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment -- the crown jewel of the tax limitation movement -- is under attack, as a measure to weaken TABOR will be on the ballot in November.

This effort to derail Colorado's limit is being duplicated in every state where TABOR is introduced. Opponents attack the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights amendment because it has proven to be the most effective tax and spending limit in constraining the growth of government.

Passed in 1992, TABOR limits the growth of government revenue and spending to the increase in inflation and population growth. Surplus revenue above that limit must be returned to taxpayers. Voters must approve any proposal for additional increases in taxes or government debt.


Don't destroy KPMG'

The Washington Post

THERE IS NO reason to doubt that the Justice Department could present before a federal grand jury a provable indictment against the accounting firm KPMG LLP. For one thing, the company doesn't really deny it. A few years ago KPMG promoted tax shelters to individuals and businesses -- shelters that were designed to create paper losses to reduce or eliminate tax liability on large gains and that the firm now concedes were over the legal line. In a statement last week, it bluntly conceded that it "takes full responsibility for the unlawful conduct by former KPMG partners . . . and we deeply regret that it occurred." What's more, the firm's hardball tactics in defending itself since have apparently exposed it to plausible obstruction-of-justice charges as well. The federal government has a legitimate interest in prosecuting those responsible, both as a matter of accountability and as a deterrent to similar misconduct by others. Yet it's hard to see the good that could come of indicting KPMG as a firm, as the department is reportedly considering.


The corruption
of the Jedi

The Dark Side triumphs when the forces of Good adopt its methods.

By Adam Young
Ludwig von
Mises Institute

Much of the  commentary of Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith has focused on alleged comparisons between the rise of the Empire in the movie to the disciples of deception and the apprentice torturers of the present regime in Washington. Others have drawn the connection more broadly on how the forces of evil in general rise to power on the back of war and deceit.


Jihad through history

By Daniel Pipes
New York Sun

In his just-released, absorbing, and excellent book, Understanding Jihad (University of California Press), David Cook of Rice University dismisses the low-grade debate that has raged since 9/11 over the nature of jihad – whether it is a form of offensive warfare or (more pleasantly) a type of moral self-improvement.

Mr. Cook dismisses as “bathetic and laughable” John Esposito’s contention that jihad refers to “the effort to lead a good life.” Throughout history and at present, Mr. Cook definitively establishes, the term primarily means “warfare with spiritual significance.


WHY BusinessNevada

Guinn seeks 'task force'
to push for new tax hike

Nevada's state Transportation Board and firms that get the highway-construction contracts believe the state needs more more highway construction than money in the pipeline is expected to cover. So on Tuesday the Transportation Board, led by Gov. Kenny Guinn -- father of the largest tax and budget increases in Nevada history -- voted to form a tax-funded task force designed to recommend to state legislators that taxes on Nevada citizens should be increased once again.

Coverage in the Las Vegas Sun:

Officials: State running
out of roadwork money

Coverage in the Las Vegas

State Eyes Tax Hikes for Roads

Reagan was right

Why don’t Nevada’s government schools improve? Fundamentally, because they are government schools.

By Steven Miller

Today public education is state government's chief justification for taking your tax dollars.

Over a third of the State of Nevada's entire budget—some 55 percent of the state's general fund—goes to support government schools, primarily at levels K-12.

For decades it’s been that way. Yet also for much of that time, the deepening crisis of Nevada's public schools has also been widely known—leading successive political leaders to make turning the system around a recurring campaign theme.

Yet the schools never get turned around.

In 1986, under then Nevada Governor Richard Bryan, the State Board of Education, with fanfare, approved a statewide strategic plan of 40 policy initiatives aimed at improving Nevada schools. Graced with the politically sexy title, “Blueprint for Educational Excellence,” few of the initiatives were even attempted.

In 1987, addressing the inadequate preparation of Nevada high school graduates for college, the board increased the units required for high school graduation—from 20 to 22.5. Then, in the mid ‘90s, the board spent four years debating about reducing those requirements.


LV Chamber largely upbeat about legislative results

By Kevin Rademacher

Business leaders continued poring over the results of the recently completed legislative session this week, and while most officials said the results were mixed, it was still considered a more successful session than 2003.


Dept of Labor steps up Beck enforcement

Requiring contractors post
right-to-work notice for workers

Alliance for Worker Freedom

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday that it is stepping up efforts to verify that federal contractors and subcontractors are posting employee rights notices relating to union representation and the use of union dues and fees as required by Executive Order 13201.

Labor’s showdown
with reality

By Thomas Bray

General Motors and the United Auto Workers appear headed for a showdown over health-care costs. But the underlying story is that the American labor movement is headed for a showdown with itself.


This executive order, issued by President George W. Bush on February 17, 2001 and implemented by the department’s Beck Rule, requires federal government contractors to post notices informing employees that they are not required to join a union in order to keep their jobs.

Non-union employees who work under union-security agreements must pay certain dues or fees but can object to their dues or fees being used for purposes other than collective bargaining, contract administration or grievance adjustment. Those employees are entitled to an appropriate reduction in fees or dues and a refund for past payments used for non-representational purposes.


Credit card processor:
We goofed


The head of the credit card processing company whose computer system was breached by hackers, exposing millions of credit card accounts, has acknowledged that his firm should not have been keeping the consumer records in the first place.


Jack Kilby: The man who
invented the modern world

Kilby's achievements show the importance of funding for technology research and education.

By Pete Lewis

It was the summer of 1958, and Jack Kilby, a 34-year-old electrical engineer from Great Bend, Kansas, was too new at Texas Instruments to qualify for a summer vacation.

Working mostly alone with borrowed and improvised equipment, Kilby tinkered on a fingernail-sized sliver of germanium—a semiconductor—to see if it would be possible to etch transistors, resistors, capacitors and other integrated components onto it. Normally these components were soldered together into a bulky unit the size of a large bread box. So if Kilby succeeded in creating an integrated circuit on a slice of semiconductor, it would revolutionize the electronics industry, allowing devices to be made smaller, faster, cheaper, more reliable and less power hungry.


Is OPEC obsolete? 

Oil prices didn't budge after the cartel promised to boost crude production—because it's the lack of refining capacity that's the real problem.

By Nelson Schwartz

The shiny black Mercedes limos left early this morning for the Vienna airport, whisking the OPEC ministers attending the cartel's meeting this week back to their jets for long rides home to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, Africa and Venezuela. But despite the usual media circus surrounding the pronouncements of the cartel and its various oil chieftains, OPEC lately seems to have lost its power to control surging crude prices.


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