a service of NPRI

November 9, 2005 
Vol. 1, No. 36

Also in this issue:

Bob Beers, Ann O'Connell 
talk on TV about TASC

Education money 
being lost in red tape

India becoming online hub 
for tutoring U.S. students

Oil company execs 
defend profits

Microsoft plays catch-up

Voters nix 
Arnold's reforms


Tax restraint and 
your business

Force officials to make 
the tough decisions

Skip the gas profit tinkering

Bill Gates at the well

Recent NPRI Commentaries

Morally Hazardous
Why social or medical 'insurance' from government will never be a square deal.

The Significance

There's a new antidote in the constitutional medicine chest

Infantile Adult Syndrome
We subsidize pathology, then wonder why we get more of it

Big Government
Tax restraint and your business

By Lyle Brennan
Nevada Journal

Assemblywoman Sharron Angle kicked off the signature collection for The Angle Property Tax Restraint (Nevada Style Prop 13) petition on September 14. The media Chicken Littles proclaimed that the sky will certainly fall for education, county government and businesses in Nevada. 

They point a hysterical finger at California's excessive spending spree on the back of increased taxes and fees for business. Without reining in government spending, our attempts at property tax restraint will allow government to increase other taxes and fees as it continues spending money. Tax restraint is only one side of the equation; limitation of government spending is the other. Nevada- style Prop 13 and a spending limitation such as Colorado's TABOR complement each other like a lock and key.


Force officials to make the tough decisions

Nevada Appeal

We're generally in favor of putting some kind of limit on government spending in Nevada. The trick is in achieving the right kind of balance. 

Colorado's Taxpayers Bill of Rights has been in the news lately because voters there decided to suspend its tax-collection limits and allow the state to spend $3.7 billion that otherwise would have been returned to taxpayers. 

The argument is whether Colorado's law is a success or failure. We think it did exactly what was intended, which was to stifle runaway spending, and then gave lawmakers a way out of a deep hole-by asking the voters. In other words, it worked.


Skip the gas profit tinkering

By H. Sterling Burnett,
Christy G. Black
Washington Times

Congress is on the verge doing something stupid—enacting a windfall profit tax (WPT) on oil industry profits. Even though pump prices for gasoline and the per-barrel price of oil are receding almost as fast as Katrina's floodwaters, it is popular to castigate "big oil" for daring to make a profit. 

Though many Americans seem to feel low gasoline and oil prices are their birthright, price controls are disingenuous and counterproductive, leading to reduced investment in oil and gas exploration and possibly gasoline shortages—the exact opposite of what consumers and the country need. 


Bill Gates 
at the well

The New York Sun

The October 31 issue of Fortune magazine carries an interview with the world's richest man, Bill Gates, in which the Microsoft chairman is asked to name the best book he's read lately. "There's one called The Bottomless Well, about energy, that I love," Mr. Gates says. Amid all the scare talk on Wall Street, in Congress, and in the press about the supposedly devastating effects of high oil and gas prices on the... 


WHY BusinessNevada

Rent seeking
Ignoring 'best practices'

Nevada's System of Higher Education positions itself for ever-greater waste

By Steven Miller

Is Nevada’s higher education system making the same mistake that its chancellor has identified in the Clark County School District?

News stories recently revealed that a business group led by Chancellor Jim Rogers had retained a nationally known management expert to screen candidates for the school district job.

Working with the business group is Dr. William G. Ouchi, professor of management at UCLA and an important critic of centralized government school systems. In 2001-2002, Ouchi led a massive, landmark study that found that decentralized school systems were not only more economically efficient but also better at producing achieving students.


Tax control
Bob Beers, Ann O'Connell
talk on TV about TASC

Face to Face with Jon Ralston

Colorado voters chose to take a 5-year holiday from their constitutional Taxpayer Bill of Rights last week. Is that a bad omen for fiscal conservatives who want to implement a similar measure here? On November 2 Jon Ralston asks taxpayer advocates State Senator Bob Beers and Ann O'Connell.

Streaming video:

Part One; Part Two

Part Three; Part Four

School reform
Education money 
being lost in red tape

Study: Sharing services could 
save schools $9 billion

Los Angeles — U.S. public schools could save an estimated $9 billion — the equivalent of funding for 900 new schools or more than 150,000 new teachers — by combining just a quarter of their non-instructional service costs with other school districts, according to a new study by Reason Foundation and Deloitte Research.

Driving More Money into the Classroom: The Promise of Shared Services

is available online.


In many school districts 40 to 50 percent of education funding never makes it into the classroom because it goes to administration and business operations like transportation, food services, building maintenance, and other support functions. 

To put this number in perspective, it is equivalent to 900 new schools or more than 150,000 additional teachers. "School funding and per pupil spending are always hot-button issues," said Lisa Snell, co-author of the report. 

"Sharing services gives schools and districts a great opportunity to send a lot more money straight to classrooms, where it belongs. With much of the education world facing tough budget decisions, sharing services is a dramatically under-used option that can yield significant results."

[the study]

India becoming online hub for tutoring U.S. students

By Vaishali Honawar

Kochi, India -- It is 8 a.m., and the city of Kochi is beginning a new day. The aroma of boiling rice wafts through the open windows of apartments on side streets, and children in uniform haul backpacks heavy with books to school. 

But inside the third floor of a gray and white building, tutors have been at work for nearly four hours, sitting at their computers inside small, partitioned cubicles. A sign outside the door reads, "Growing Stars Infotech Limited: A subsidiary of Growing Stars Inc., California, U.S.A."


Oil company execs
defend profits

By H. Josef Hebert
Associated Press

WASHINGTON—The chiefs of five major oil companies defended the industry's huge profits Wednesday at a Senate hearing where lawmakers said they should explain prices and assure people they're not being gouged. 

There is a "growing suspicion that oil companies are taking unfair advantage," Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said as the hearing opened in a packed Senate committee room. 

"The oil companies owe the country an explanation," he said.


Microsoft plays catch-up

Bill Gates finally admits 
software as a service is a big deal

By David Kirkpatrick

Microsoft has gotten seriously behind. And on Tuesday Bill Gates finally admitted it. 

In a wide-ranging set of announcements of future products and a group of sometimes-fumbled demonstrations, Gates and his newest lieutenant Ray Ozzie, one of Microsoft's chief technology officers, unveiled an entirely new strategy for software's titan. They promised to deliver a variety of services over the Internet, many for free and supported by advertising. 

While Microsoft has been taking baby steps in this direction for some time, this is a big leap away from the company's longstanding commitment to software on a customer's desktop that is sold for a license fee. 

"Every five years or so we look at our strategy and make one of these big bets," said Gates at the San Francisco announcement. He compared it to the company's move from DOS to Windows in the early 1990s, its embrace of the Internet in December 1995, and its launch of the .Net strategy for web services in 2000.


Voters nix 
Arnold's reforms

Spending cap, redistricting and teacher tenure measures fail, and a bid to curb use of union dues trails. A proposal to restrict abortions is close.

By Michael Finnegan 
and Robert Salladay
Los Angeles Times

In a sharp repudiation of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, voters rejected his most sweeping ballot proposals on Tuesday in an election that shattered his image as an agent of the popular will. 

Voters turned down his proposals to curb state spending, redraw California's political map and lengthen the time it takes teachers to get tenure.


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