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

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 on Education Budgets February 19, 2015

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

Senate Bill 119 Testimony

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

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

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

Senate Bill 119 Testimony

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

 

Testimony before the Legislative Committee on Education

On May 28, 2014, Victoria Carreon of the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities and Seth Rau of Nevada Succeeds testified before the Legislative Committee on Education on reforming professional development to improve literacy outcomes in Nevada. This testimony presents preliminary findings of a paper forthcoming in August 2014. We found that current professional development efforts are insufficient and bold steps need to be take to improve quantity, quality, and consistency. Current federal resources can be reprioritized to fund these efforts. (May 2014)

Video for the meeting is available. The presentation by the Guinn Center and Nevada Succeeds begins at 05:55:43.

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 before the K-12 Public Education Funding Technical Advisory Committee

On May 21, 2014 and May 22, 2014, Victoria Carreon of the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities testified before the K-12 Public Education Funding Technical Advisory Committee and the Task Force on K-12 Public Education Funding. This testimony recommends that the Committee critically re-evaluate the basic support formula before making decisions to construct a weighted funding formula. The Committee should consider moving to a base formula that is built upon the cost to adequately educate students instead of the historic cost to educate students. The Committee should also consider moving certain “outside” tax revenues into the funding formula. (May 2014)

Video is available for both meetings. The May 21st testimony begins at 01:02:00 and the May 22nd testimony begins at 00:04:48

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

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

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

AB 89 Testimony                      SB 68 Testimony