Policy Reports

Guinn Center Research

chartThe Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities is a nonprofit, non-partisan, think-do tank focused on independent, fact based, and well-reasoned analysis of critical policy issues that advance solutions toward a vibrant Nevada. Recognizing the time constraints of the decision makers in Nevada’s policy sphere, our analysis and information is accessible, timely, and relevant.

Governing Nevada

Major Legislation Approved During the 2015-2017 Legislative Session

NV_Legislative_Building-520x321During the 2015-2017 Legislative Session, 1,013 bills were proposed. At last count, 474 bills had been approved by both Houses and 433 had been signed by Governor Brian Sandoval. The Guinn Center provides a summary of the major pieces of legislation in the Guinn Center’s five research areas: (1) Governing Nevada; (2) Growing Nevada; (3) Educating Nevada; (4) A Changing Nevada; and (5) Sustaining Nevada.

Full Report

Comparison of 2015 Nevada Tax Proposals

FlagThis policy brief provides a comparison of the tax plans being considered by the Legislature. Based on our analysis and interviews with tax policy experts in other states that have implemented gross receipts taxes, the Guinn Center concludes by offering a series of policy questions and recommendations for Legislators. (April 2015)

Executive Summary             Full Report

Tax Scenarios Based on Approval of SB 483 June 1, 2015

Tax Scenarios Based on AB 464 Amendment May 21, 2015

The Business License Fee: What We Still Don’t Know- Questions for Legislators.

PennyGovernor Sandoval has proposed restructuring the Business License Fee to provide more funding for education. This policy brief reviews whether this proposal embraces elements of good tax policy and discusses issues that the Legislature should explore prior to adopting the proposal. (March 2015)

Executive Summary      Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

SB 252: Business License Fee- Senate Committee of the Whole

SB 378: Supplemental Revenue Fee- Senate Revenue

AB 464: Assembly Hybrid Tax- Assembly Taxation

Tax Scenarios

Maximizing Federal Assistance

CapitolThe Federal government annually distributes billions of dollars through domestic assistance grants but Nevada ranks last in the nation in federal grant expenditures per capita. (May 2015)

Testimony during the 2015 Legislative Session

SB 213: Database on Federal Grant Activity in Nevada- Senate Finance, Assembly Ways and Means

SB 214: Nevada Advisory Council on Federal Assistance- Senate Finance, Assembly Ways and Means

Examining Nevada’s Education Priorities: Which Initiatives are Worth the Investment?

Test Pic JPEGGovernor Brian Sandoval has proposed almost two dozen initiatives to help move Nevada’s education system into the 21st Century. The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities and Nevada Succeeds have co-authored a report that reviews empirical research to analyze which of these proposals are most correlated with improved student outcomes. Based on this review, the report ranks each initiative as high, medium, or low priority. The report finds that efforts to improve education outcomes do not work in isolation and that the quality of implementation is intrinsic to success.  (February 2015)

Executive Summary        Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

Education Budgets: Major Education Budget Initiatives, Early Childhood Education, Education Budget Closing 

AB 339: Appointed School Boards- Assembly Education

AB 394: Reconfiguration of School Districts- Assembly Education, Assembly Ways and Means

AB 448: Achievement School District- Assembly EducationAssembly Ways and Means, Senate Education

SB 391: Read by 3-Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 405 and 430: Zoom Schools- Senate Education

SB 405: Zoom Schools- Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 432: Victory Schools- Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 474: Great Teaching and Leading Fund- Senate Education, Assembly Education

SB 503: Breakfast After the Bell- Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Ways and Means

SB 508: Modernization of the Nevada Plan- Senate Finance, Assembly Ways and Means

Expanding Financing Options for Nevada's K-12 Facilities

Construction PictureSchool districts throughout Nevada have critical, unmet capital needs and currently have insufficient resources to fund repairs and build new schools. Existing financing tools rely largely on local funding and have not generated adequate revenue in a timely manner. In addition, the existing structure has increased disparities between school districts, given that each district has a different set of funding sources that it can use. This policy brief provides recommendations to expand the financing options available to school districts to meet capital needs. (February 2015)

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

AB 412: School Facilities Funding- Assembly Taxation

AB 445: Redevelopment and School Facilities- Assembly Government Affairs

SB 119: School Rollover Bonds-Senate Government Affairs, Assembly Government Affairs

SB 411: Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee- Senate Revenue, Assembly Taxation

Fact Sheet on Question 2: Nevada Constitutional Amendment

Mining graphicThis fact sheet provides information on Question 2, an amendment to the Nevada Constitution, which will be considered by voters on November 4, 2014. It provides information on what will happen if the measure passes, discusses how mining is currently taxed, describes the impact of the mining industry in Nevada, and summarizes the arguments for and against Question 2. (October 2014)

Executive Summary                    Full Report

Fact Sheet on The Education Initiative (Margin Tax)

Magnifying glassThis fact sheet provides information about The Education Initiative (Margin Tax), which will be considered by Nevada voters in November 2014. It analyzes the potential impact on businesses and estimates the amount of revenue the State will receive. It also summarizes the arguments for and against The Education Initiative. (February 2014)

Guinn Center Analysis of Margin Tax Estimates

This follow-on policy brief provides a detailed description of the methodology and assumptions used by the Guinn Center to arrive at the revenue estimates of the margin tax, as previously discussed in the Fact Sheet on The Education Initiative. (March 2014)

Nevada Can Improve Long-Term Budget Planning

 

Nevada ranks 6th in the nation in the effective use of state budget-planning tools, according to a major new report, Budgeting for the Future, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a non-partisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C. Implementing these budget-planning tools would help Nevada build an attractive business climate, make government more effective, and weather difficult economic times. (February 2014)

Educating Nevada

Health Impact of Full-Day Kindergarten

Health graphicIn collaboration with other organizations, the Guinn Center contributed to a recent study examining the potential impact of full-day kindergarten on health outcomes: Full-Day Kindergarten in Nevada: A Health Impact Assessment (HIA). The purpose of the HIA study is to inform the Nevada Legislature as it considers expanding full-day kindergarten. This policy brief links the research and recommendations of the HIA study to legislation pending before the 2015 Nevada Legislature. (May 2015)

Related Legislation includes:

  • The Governor’s proposed budget to expand full-day kindergarten
  • SB 508, which funds kindergarten students at the same rate as other students beginning in FY 2018
  • SB 503, which implements the Breakfast after the Bell program
  • AB 206, which expands notification to parents of health issues identified during screening to include a list of any resources available in the community to provide appropriate medical attention
  • SB 405, which removes the sunset on requiring Clark and Washoe School Districts to conduct a sample of height and weight for students in 4th, 7th, and 10th grades.

Executive Summary         Full Report

Nevada Charter Schools: Improving Access to Categorical & Facilities Funding

BooksNevada’s public charter school students are entitled to receive a proportionate share of school funding from Federal, State and Local Sources. In practice, charter school students have experienced limited accessibility to State and Federal categorical funds compared to students at school districts. Charter schools also have limited access to facilities funding and must use their operations funding to meet these needs. The Guinn Center recommends ways the Legislature can improve access to funding for charter school students. (March 2015)

Executive Summary                   Full Report

Nevada K-12 Education Finance

kidsThis fact sheet illustrates the breadth and complexity of the K-12 public school financing system. While the Nevada Plan is the primary source of funding for operations, schools also receive revenue from a variety of local, State, and Federal sources. There is significant variation in funding between school districts and there are funding disparities between school districts and charter schools.

Issues for the Legislature to consider in 2015 include whether the State should move to a formula based on the cost to adequately educate pupils, whether to implement funding weights for specific populations, how to treat categorical funds and outside tax revenue, how to count the number of students, how to phase in implementation of the formula, and what revenue sources should be used for a new funding formula. (February 2015)

Executive Summary                  Full Report

Interim Testimony

Testimony before the K-12 Public Education Funding Technical Advisory Committee (May 21 and 22, 2014)Video of May 21, 2014 testimony begins at 01:02:00 and video of  May 22, 2014 testimony begins at 00:04:48.

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

SB 508: Modernization of the Nevada Plan- Senate Finance

Expanding Financing Options for Nevada's K-12 Facilities

Construction PictureSchool districts throughout Nevada have critical, unmet capital needs and currently have insufficient resources to fund repairs and build new schools. Existing financing tools rely largely on local funding and have not generated adequate revenue in a timely manner. In addition, the existing structure has increased disparities between school districts, given that each district has a different set of funding sources that it can use. This policy brief provides recommendations to expand the financing options available to school districts to meet capital needs. (February 2015)

Executive Summary       Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

AB 412: School Facilities Funding- Assembly Taxation

AB 445: Redevelopment and School Facilities- Assembly Government Affairs

SB 119: School Rollover Bonds-Senate Government Affairs, Assembly Government Affairs

SB 411: Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee- Senate Revenue, Assembly Taxation

Reforming Professional Development to Improve Literacy Outcomes in Nevada

CCSD Kids3The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities and Nevada Succeeds argue that improving professional development for teachers is an essential driver for improving the quality of instruction and literacy outcomes for students. This paper explores current shortcomings in the professional development system and makes recommendations for improvement. It also examines how funds available for professional development are currently being used and makes recommendations for how resources can be reprioritized. (July 2014)

Executive Summary           Full Report

Interim Testimony

Testimony on preliminary findings before the Legislative Committee on Education May 28, 2014. Video for the presentation by the Guinn Center and Nevada Succeeds begins at 05:55:43.

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

SCR1: Interim Study of Professional Development- Senate Legislative Operations

SB 391: Read by 3-Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 474: Great Teaching and Leading Fund- Senate Education, Assembly Education

Literacy Challenges in Nevada's Schools

penicl-graphOutcomes on state and national reading assessments indicate that Nevada’s students face significant challenges in literacy. This policy brief describes the situation, outlines existing resources dedicated to addressing literacy, and identifies best practices adopted by other states to improve literacy in public schools. (March 2014)

Executive Summary       Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

SB 391: Read by 3-Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 474: Great Teaching and Leading Fund- Senate Education, Assembly Education

Growing Nevada

Development Incentives: A Guide for Nevada Legislators

Nevada licenseAs the Nevada Legislature considers a $1.3 billion incentive package for Tesla Motors, the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities recommends that legislators consider best practices learned in other states that emphasize transparency, accountability, performance, local hiring, and job training. The Guinn Center also examines the impact of the proposal on local governments and the ability to provide expanded public services. (September 2014)

Executive Summary                  Full Report

A Changing Nevada

State of Latinos in the Intermountain West

INTERMOUNTAIN WEST COVER2 FINALLatinos are the fastest growing population in the Intermountain West but were hit harder by the Great Recession than non-Latinos. In addition, Nevada’s Latinos often fare worse than Latinos in other states in the region. States need to build an infrastructure of opportunity to improve economic resiliency, which includes access to quality education, effective training and job development, health care, and capital. (June 2014)

Executive Sumary

Full Report

Part I: The Demographic Landscape

Part II: The Infrastructure of Opportunity: An Assessment

Part III: Strategies for Building the Infrastructure of Opportunities for Latinos in the Intermountain West

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

AB 318: Military Lending Act Extension- Assembly Commerce

SB 227: Need Based Scholarship- Senate Education

SB 323: Small Business Loan Program- Background Information

SB 381: Task Force on Financial Security-Senate Revenue

SB 496: Workforce Development Rapid Response Fund- Senate Finance

Sustaining Nevada

Mental Health Governance: A Review of State Models and Guide for Nevada Decision Makers

Red Nevada HealthNevada is considering moving from a centrally controlled mental health system to one that is more responsive to local community needs. This report provides guiding principles for a quality governance system, presents a comparative analysis of models in seven states, and outlines decision points that will need to be considered by the Nevada Behavioral Health and Wellness Council and State Legislature. (December 2014)

Executive Summary                   Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

AB 289: Interim Study of Mental Health Governance-Assembly Legislative Operations

Nevada's Mental Health Workforce: Shortages and Opportunities

Med PictureIncreasing Nevada’s mental health workforce is critical to improving behavioral health outcomes. This policy brief focuses on what Nevada can do to remove licensing barriers for mental health professionals who want to move to the Silver State. It also examines competitiveness of State mental health employee salaries compared to other states. It concludes by exploring long-term solutions for creating a sustainable mental health workforce. (October 2014)

Executive Summary                 Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

AB 89: Licensing- Assembly Commerce, Senate Commerce

SB 68: Licensing- Senate Commerce, Assembly Commerce

SB 251: Interstate Medical Licensure Compact- Senate Commerce, Assembly Commerce