Key areas of focus and research at the Guinn Center are budget and fiscal policies. The budget is a state’s single most powerful decision-making tool and statement of priorities. The Guinn Center provides fact-based, independent analyses of state fiscal and tax policies and their implications for all Nevadans. We identify long-term strategies for a sound budget and strong economy. We will translate a complicated budget for the public, analyzing budget trends and options that make clear the crucial choices Nevada faces in both the short- and long-term, and promote greater transparency in the policy making process.
Question 1: Marsy’s Law, which will be considered by voters on November 6, 2018., seeks to amend the Nevada Constitution to remove current provisions for victims’ rights and replace them with a new “victims’ bill of rights.” This voter information guide seeks to answer some of the questions voters may have about this ballot measure.
Question 2: The Amendment to the Sales and Use Tax Act of 1955 is a statewide statutory ballot initiative that proposes to exempt certain feminine hygiene products, defined specifically as sanitary napkins or tampons, from sales and use taxes in Nevada, the Local School Support Tax (LSST), and other analogous taxes, such as those that provide revenue to local governments.
The subject of Question 3: The Energy Choice Initiative—namely the proposed restructuring of Nevada’s electricity markets—is complex. Supporters and opponents of Question 3: The Energy Choice Initiative are providing data and arguments that appear to conflict with each other. This voter information guide addresses some of the questions voters may have about this ballot measure. (July 2018)
This fact sheet provides information on the Medical Patient Tax Relief Act, a ballot question for the November 2018 election in Nevada. The measure seeks to provide a sales and use tax exemption for durable medical, oxygen delivery and mobility enhancing equipment. The fact sheet discusses the effects the initiative could have on state tax revenue, who in the state might benefit from the exemption, and how Nevada’s tax policy for these types of medical equipment compares with other states.
Question 5: The Automatic Voter Registration Initiative is a statewide statutory ballot initiative that proposes to amend State law from an “opt-in” voter registration system to an “opt-out” system. When completing a transaction through the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), such as an application for a new driver’s license or a Nevada Identification Card, individuals would be registered to vote automatically unless they affirmatively decline in writing their intent to opt out of voter registration. A “YES” vote means that when processing certain transactions at the Nevada DMV, individuals would be registered to vote automatically unless they affirmatively decline in writing their intent to opt out of voter registration. A “NO” vote means that State law would not be amended to establish automatic voter registration (AVR). The current “opt-in” voter registration at the Nevada DMV would remain in place.
Question 6: The Renewable Energy Promotion Initiative is a statewide constitutional ballot initiative that will be placed before Nevada’s registered voters at the November 6, 2018, General Election. Question 6 proposes to double the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from 25 percent by 2025 to 50 percent by 2030. This voter information guide seeks to answer some of the questions voters may have about this ballot measure.
Question WC-1: Truckee River Flood Management Authority Funding Question is a Washoe County ballot question that proposes to impose an additional property tax rate in the amount of $0.0248 per $100 of assessed value for the purpose of funding a Truckee River flood prevention project and to allow the Truckee River Flood Management Authority to issue up to $89 million of general obligation bonds to finance this project. A “YES” vote would authorize Washoe County to increase property taxes by $0.0248 per $100 of assessed valuation for the purpose of financing a flood control project on the Truckee River. A “NO” vote would keep the current property tax structure in place.
Community Policing in Northern Nevada
Three northern Nevada law enforcement agencies – the Reno Police Department, Sparks Police, and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office – commissioned the Guinn Center to review best practices as outlined in the Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (2015); identify gaps in current policies and procedures within and across the three law enforcement agencies against the Task Force’s itemized best practices; and propose actions for implementation that address the gaps. Among the set of recommendations published in the Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the Guinn Center was tasked to focus on data, hiring and recruitment, and training. This report presents a set of actionable recommendations. (April 2018)
Nevada’s 2017-2019 biennium budget amounts to approximately $26.2 billion. Federal funds account for more than one-third (34.3 percent) of all revenues in the biennium budget. Federal revenues also flow into Nevada’s non-profits and local and county governments. This policy brief summarizes federal revenue streams in Nevada in recent years. (March 2018)
In 2017, the U.S. Congress took action to amend the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), or modify certain existing federal income tax provisions as they pertain to individuals and businesses. The bill is known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). This policy brief highlights major provisions in the congressional TCJA proposal as they relate to Nevada and to individual taxpayers only. (December 2017)
In 2017, the U.S. Congress took action to amend the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), or modify certain existing federal income tax provisions as they pertain to individuals and businesses. a The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on November 16, 2017, referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). On December 2, 2017, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the TCJA. As the House and Senate bills are not identical, the two pieces of legislation must be reviewed by a conference committee to reconcile the differences. This policy brief discusses major provisions in the congressional proposals as they relate to Nevada and to individual taxpayers only. (December 2017)
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017, on May 4, 2017, and the U.S. Senate released a discussion draft for its version of the bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017, on June 22, 2017; both bills seek to roll back the Medicaid expansion, amongst other provisions.
We evaluate Medicaid funding in Nevada from a budgetary standpoint, examining expenditures and revenues for the program. We conclude with an assessment of the financial implications for Nevada, should the Medicaid expansion be rolled back due to congressional decisions to revise existing provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (June 2017)
The Guinn Center, in conjunction with researchers from the Department of Economics in the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Business, has published a policy report that provides an overview of property taxes in Nevada. This report addresses a set of questions that highlight the structural dimensions of the Silver State’s property tax system, examine statewide variation, and analyze possibilities for reform.
Infographics (in English and Spanish) on Nevada’s property taxes can be found here.
This policy brief explains Nevada’s budget process—such as the role of the Economic Forum—and provides both a broad-based overview of budgetary sources and spending and a detailed account of revenues and proposed expenditures. It closes with a discussion of some of the uncertainties confronting the State Legislature as they make budgetary decisions, particularly the status of the Medicaid expansion and that of marijuana legalization.
Infographics (in English and Spanish) on Nevada’s budget can be found here.
The policy report identifies the transportation challenges or barriers faced by individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in Nevada, and provides recommendations that may be taken under advisement by decision makers and elected officials in the Silver State.
In November 2016, voters in Nevada were asked to approve the Background Check Initiative, a statewide question to amend an existing Nevada law. This Fact Sheet provides a summary of the primary arguments for and against the Background Check Initiative and addresses some questions voters may have.
Voters in Nevada 2016 were asked to consider a measure to approve the regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana. This Fact Sheet presents arguments for and against the measure to Regulate and Tax Marijuana.
Question 3: The Energy Choice Initiative (ECI) is a statewide constitutional ballot initiative that was placed before Nevada’s registered voters on November 8, 2016. Question 3 seeks to amend the Nevada Constitution by adding a new section to its Declaration of Rights regarding the provision of electric utility service in the State.
This fact sheet provides information on the Medical Patient Tax Relief Act, a ballot question for the November 2016 election in Nevada. The measure seeks to provide a sales and use tax exemption for durable medical, oxygen delivery and mobility enhancing equipment. The fact sheet discusses the effects the initiative could have on state tax revenue, who in the state might benefit from the exemption, and how Nevada’s tax policy for these types of medical equipment compares with other states.
An initiative was placed on the ballot in November 2016 (Clark County Question 5) asking Clark County registered voters if they wish to continue tying fuel taxes to the inflation rate. Fuel taxes in the County have been indexed to inflation since January 2014. This program—Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI)—is set to expire at the end of 2016, unless voters in Clark County approve the ballot initiative.
This Fact Sheet presents information about Washoe County Question 1 (WC-1), the proposed ballot initiative to increase the sales tax in order to generate revenue for the construction and maintenance of K-12 public school facilities in Washoe County. This Fact Sheet explains what will happen if Question 1 passes or fails to pass, and presents information about school facilities issues in Washoe County.
An initiative was placed on the ballot in November 2016 asking Elko County registered voters if they wish to tie fuel taxes to the inflation rate. This type of program is called Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI). A “YES” vote means that FRI would be established for ten years (January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2026). A “NO” vote rejects the imposition of automatic inflation-adjusted increases to fuel taxes.
Over the past two decades, Nevada has experienced tremendous population growth, which has placed tremendous demands on Nevada’s infrastructure and the capacity of our State’s public school facilities. As such, the need to construct and upgrade K-12 public school facilities has become a major issue in both urban and rural counties.
In 2015, the Nevada Legislature established the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission (AB 421) to assess best practices in education and the fiscal management of education funding in the State. The first meeting of the SAGE Commission will address Nevada’s K-12 school facilities. The Guinn Center has prepared a report on Nevada’s K-12 school facilities in which we describe school capital facilities and maintenance needs across the State, discuss financial drivers of school construction costs, and conclude by offering a series of recommendations.
Governor Sandoval called a special session in December 2015 to consider a development incentive package for Faraday Future, which has decided to locate in North Las Vegas. The goal of this policy brief is to (1) identify best practices for crafting development incentive programs, and (2) offer a set of recommendations for improving Nevada’s return on investment (ROI) on the proposed Faraday Future incentive package.
During 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.
This 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)
Tax Scenarios Based on Approval of SB 483 June 1, 2015
Tax Scenarios Based on AB 464 Amendment May 21, 2015
Governor 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)
Testimony during the 2015 Legislative Session
SB252: Business License Fee: Senate Committee of the Whole
SB378: Supplemental Revenue Fee: Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development
Maximizing Federal Assistance
The 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
Governor 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)
Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session
AB 339: Appointed School Boards- Assembly Education
SB 405 and 430: Zoom Schools- Senate Education
School 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
This 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)
This 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)
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 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)