a service of NPRI

February 17, 2006 
Vol. 2, No. 3

Also in this issue:

Colorado governor:
TABOR works just fine

Dems slowly moving to
support school choice

The tragedy of
General Motors

Out-of-towners leave
Las Vegas enriched

Millions hit by tax
intended for wealthy

Contractors board reversal
raises questions


Bury the Death Tax

Retail Rumble

Much ado
about Bernanke

How instability
breeds stability


from NPRI:

Nevada's 'Reading Disabled'

By Penny Brock

Susie's mother called at the end of January two years ago. Her daughter
-- in special ed -- was not learning anything.


Bury the
Death Tax

By Philip G. Kerpen
Fortune Magazine

Death and taxes are inevitable, but death taxes are not. Indeed the long fight to end the death tax may be in its final round. Last week Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican of Tennessee, told a gathering of conservative activists that he will bring death tax repeal to the Senate floor for a vote in May. The announcement was the biggest applause line in his speech, and the free market movement is energized and ready to make this the year this hated tax is finally repealed for good. 


Retail Rumble

Wall Street Journal

America's retailers announced last week that they aren't especially keen to follow the steel, airline and perhaps the auto industries into bankruptcy court. If Big Labor really wants a fight over mandated health insurance, it now has one.

The announcement came in the form of two federal lawsuits filed by the Retail Industry Leaders Association against the state of Maryland and Suffolk County, New York. At issue are the "Wal-Mart" laws that both jurisdictions recently passed, which would require a few large companies to pay more for their workers' health care. The lawsuits argue the statutes are "discriminatory," which may be the legal understatement of the year since both target only a few employers.

[continued] This article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days after it is e-mailed.

The Fed
Much ado about Bernanke

By Peter Schiff
Euro Pacific Capital

This week Ben Bernanke began the first of what will likely be many semi-annual pilgrimages to Capital Hill. Under his predecessor, such rituals amounted to nothing more than political grandstanding, where politicians either baited Greenspan into validating their agendas or blamed him for pet peeve problems, and Greenspan tried to simultaneously appease every politician in attendance, with all on Wall Street painstakingly dissecting his every word.


The economy
How instability breeds stability

By Robert J. Samuelson
The Washington Post

A puzzle of our time is why the U.S. economy has become increasingly stable while individual industries have become increasingly unstable.

The continuing turmoil at General Motors and Ford simply reflects this more pervasive industrial instability -- also in airlines, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and the mass media ...

[continued] This article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days after it is e-mailed.

WHY BusinessNevada

Government reform
TASC Q&A suggests political juggernaut

By Steven Miller

When gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons recently asked advocates of the Tax and Spending Control (TASC) for Nevada initiative to answer a dozen questions about their proposed constitutional amendment, he clearly was seeking clarity about the controversial measure’s impact on Nevada, should it receive voter approval.

And while the Congressman's campaign did receive the clarifications sought, it also appears to have received much more -- whether it noticed or not: Powerful evidence that the TASC group is finding its footing after some stumbles and looks likely to be a formidable force in Nevada this year and in years to come.

Late bulletin:
Gibbons opposes TASC

The evidence lies, surprisingly, in the mere simplicity—and thus the political power—of the answers given to some ostensibly difficult questions posed by the Gibbons camp.


TASC's Older Sibling
Colorado governor:
TABOR works just fine

No 'fiscal straitjacket' resulted from taxpayer protections, spending limits

Writing in the Arizona Republic yesterday to refute a recent editorial, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens took strenuous issue with claims that his state’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights had put Colorado in a “fiscal straitjacket."

“Contrary to the opinion expressed in your editorial Monday (‘If it ain't broke, don't fix it’),” wrote Owens, “TABOR did not place Colorado in a ‘fiscal straitjacket.’ The budget cuts mentioned in the editorial were not the result of TABOR but entirely the recession.

Because Owens last year supported a five-year holiday from givebacks to taxpayers — a measure called “Referendum C” on his state’s November ballot — foes of TABOR-style limits on government spending have often cited Owens’ position as evidence that TABOR either “doesn’t work” or is too harsh.

Owens, however, will have none of that argument. “It's time to clear the air on the subject of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights,” he wrote. “Contrary to some beliefs, the voters did not suspend TABOR. When they supported Referendum C last fall, they simply used the provisions contained in TABOR to fix a problem commonly referred to as the ‘ratchet effect.’”

[Owens in the Arizona Republic]

Education reform
Dems slowly moving to support school choice

But in Arizona, the governor
keeps moving the goal post

By Dan Lips
Fox News

Supporters of school choice in Arizona must feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.

And they must think of Gov. Janet Napolitano as Lucy -- pulling away the ball once again.


Creative destruction
The tragedy of General Motors

The Detroit giant is a weird, scarred combination: a carmaker doing poorly, and an insurance company engulfed by its obligations. GM is heading for a wreck.

By Carol Loomis
Fortune Magazine

It is the instinctive wish of most American businesspeople, even those unlikely to be directly affected, that General Motors not go bankrupt. True, some people will say, "They had it coming to them." But the majority will be more practical, telling themselves that the company is so central to the economy, so sprawling in its commercial reach, that bankruptcy--"going into chapter," as restructuring folks say--is ominous almost beyond contemplation. And yet the evidence points, with increasing certitude, to bankruptcy.


Out-of-towners leave
Las Vegas enriched

By Alana Roberts
InBusiness Las Vegas

Las Vegas is used to visiting conventioneers leaving some of their money behind.

But 600 sales executives with consumer products giant Unilever left a big chunk of change and the results of some hard work to benefit the Southern Nevada community.


Millions hit by tax
intended for wealthy

By Steve Stanek
Budget & Tax News

Millions of middle-income Americans are about to be hit by the alternative minimum tax (AMT), enacted nearly 30 years ago to ensure the nation's wealthiest citizens pay income taxes.

Congress failed to act on the AMT in 2005, leaving more than 15 million Americans to feel its bite this year. That's four times the 3.8 million affected in 2005. The Internal Revenue Service estimates more than 30 million taxpayers will be hit by the tax by 2010 if nothing is done to change it.

"The Alternative Minimum Tax represents the single biggest threat to the wallets of tens of millions of middle-class taxpayers in 2006, yet Congress could not even agree to extend temporary safeguards from this stealth tax for another year," said the National Taxpayers Union's Pete Sepp.


Government licensing
Contractors board
reversal raises questions

By Jennifer Robison
Las Vegas Review-Journal

A Southern Nevada pool builder is challenging the Nevada State Contractors Board on its interpretation of the laws and regulations that apply to pool constructors.

Renaissance Pools & Spas on Thursday presented a 13-point petition to the contractors board, seeking clarification of the rules it uses to monitor and regulate pool construction in the state.


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