(Jim Clark) – The Nevada Legislature has been in session a mere 10 days and it is evident that the inmates are running the asylum. As the Bonanza reported, Democratic leaders from both the senate and the assembly proudly announced a “Nevada Jobs Fund” at a February 11 press conference.
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D – Las Vegas) has asked fellow legislators to commit over $1 billion to fund a scheme dreamed up by contractors (normally Republicans) and construction trades unions, both unemployed, calling themselves the “Building Jobs Coalition.” Neither the coalition nor the Democratic leadership was forthcoming about where the $1 billion was to come from, but Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) discovered on the group’s web site that they are calling for a .25 percent increase in statewide sales taxes or a ten-cent increase in property taxes to be a dedicated revenue stream against which bonds could be issued for infrastructure projects.
Horsford claimed that the new state spending on construction jobs will provide government “stimulus” which will reverberate positively in Nevada’s economy. He said that for every 100 new construction jobs the increase in demand will create 88 additional jobs. Assembly Speaker John Oceguera (D – Las Vegas) said that each dollar spent would generate $1.47 into the economy. The Building Jobs Coalition goes even further forecasting $3.7 billion in economic activity and 100,000 new jobs.
Not so fast, though. NPRI points out that in order to raise the $1 billion, the legislature has to take it from other Nevada taxpayers and private capital markets, resulting in an offsetting sure and certain negative multiplier effect as opposed to their “pie in the sky” positive forecast. Because an income tax is prohibited by the Nevada Constitution, there is no way to do this by “soaking the rich.” An increase in property taxes or sales taxes would hurt the employed and the unemployed alike. The only way to balance the budget is to cut spending, but that argument is lost on idle construction folks and their Democratic quislings.
Interestingly the Nevada News Bureau just came out with a story questioning whether the federal stimulus bill created any jobs at all. The “Obamulus’ involved federal money the U.S. borrowed from China so other Nevadans did not directly suffer as they would with the proposed “Jobs Fund.” The Nevada News Bureau reported that Charles Harvey, Nevada’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act director, said that although officially the stimulus created 23,833 Nevada jobs over two years the number is meaningless because it has no relation to the actual number of people employed through stimulus dollars. Nor can they tell if the windfall was used to hire engineers, doctors or just common laborers. The agency only counted hours worked per quarter; not who did what nor actual jobs; if one worker worked 2 hours on 5 projects it counted as 5 jobs. The Nevada News Bureau left discussion of what happens after the money runs out for a later edition.
GOP Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness (R-Fallon) was not fooled. “It’s hard to tax one segment of our society to put another back to work,” he said. Governor Sandoval prefers a modest $10 million catalyst fund to attract businesses to Nevada saying that “job creation is best accomplished by private sector growth. Spending money we don’t have may yield short-term gains for some but do long term damage to the economy.”
What we really need is an iron-clad law that no Democrat can vote on any spending measure without first having taken and passed a course in economics.
(Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates, a vice chair of the Washoe County GOP and a member of the Nevada GOP Central Committee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org )