(Sharon Rossie) – Wednesday’s NPRI Open House in Las Vegas was a tremendous success. It was great to be able to meet so many supporters of limited government and individual liberty. My deepest thanks go out to everyone who was able to attend — it was a pleasure to see such a demonstration of support for what we do at NPRI.
One of the things I enjoy most about events like that is that it gives us a chance to hear directly from a wide range of our supporters. Given that the special legislative session is underway in Carson City, many attendees wanted to talk about the $300 million in tax incentives being offered to the launching electric-car company, Faraday Future.
Because everyday Nevadans now face $1.5 billion in new taxes passed during the last legislative session — the largest tax increase in state history — outrage over the Faraday special deal was widespread. When lawmakers are giving tax credits, abatements and other handouts to politically connected billionaires, it’s easy for average small business owners to feel targeted by big government.
That outrage is certainly justified. As Calvin Coolidge once said, “the men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government.” And that truth is rarely more apparent than when lawmakers, right after hiking taxes on average citizens, start crafting special deals for out-of-state billionaires.
Nevertheless, I still saw a lot of reason to be optimistic about free markets during the Open House.
The enthusiasm I saw for limited government confirmed to me that what we do at NPRI is not only vital, but appreciated by many Nevadans — regardless of their political leanings.
Our work on Education Savings Accounts is a perfect example of widespread, and effective, free market reform. It’s not only a success story for us here at NPRI, but a success story for parents in every demographic who want better opportunities for their children.
Many supporters also spoke on Wednesday about the issue of federal lands in Nevada. Currently, the federal government controls well over 80 percent of the Silver State’s land — making a mockery of the core ideas of federalism. NPRI’s recent discussion of federal government efforts to micromanage Nevada’s backyard received a lot of support.
In fact, the enthusiasm I saw on Wednesday for everything we do at NPRI gives me confidence that next year will be an effective and powerful year for limited-government proponents. ESAs will be implemented, government waste will be exposed and the opportunity for many victories is assured.
What the open house really revealed was that none of us who believe in limited government and free markets are alone. In fact, there are far more of us in Nevada than most people realize. Our passion for liberty, and our desire for a prosperous Nevada, is a common tenet uniting us as we head into an eventful new year.
2015 is almost over, and we face challenging — but still promising — work ahead of us in 2016. On behalf of everyone at NPRI, I want to say thank you for all the support you have shown us. We couldn’t keep moving forward without you.
Sharon Rossie is President of Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI), a non-profit, non-partisan think tank that produces and shares ideas and information that empowers people. For more information, please visit www.NPRI.org.