Governance

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Governance can be defined as: “The system by which entities are directed and controlled.  It is concerned with structure and processes for decision making, accountability, control and behavior. Governance influences how an organization’s objectives are set and achieved, how risk is monitored and addressed and how performance is optimized.” Governance is a system and process. Policies that promote good governance can help foster economic growth and development. 

Areas of research:

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  • Civic engagement
  • Ballot initiatives 
  • Board governance 
  • Higher education governance
  • Federal grants performance
  • Federal economic recovery funds
  • Criminal justice issues and community policing
  • Policy challenges 

Services:

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Grant writing
  • Focus group and facilitation
  • Program evaluation

Policy Reports and Research

Federal Grants Performance in Nevada

Nevada continues to be ranked among the lowest states in the nation in receiving federal grants, which are a key source of funding for health care, education, social services, and infrastructure, according to a new Guinn Center report released today. It finds total federal grants per capita in Nevada amounted to $2,296 in federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020, for a ranking of 45th in the nation. That is 28.9 percent lower than the U.S. average of $3,070 and 25.8 percent lower than the median state, Intermountain West neighbor Arizona, which ranked 26th with a total federal grants per capita amount of $2,975. (March 2021)

Youth Civic Engagement

The Guinn Center, in partnership with Clark County Department of Social Service, and with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, are strengthening opportunities for youth civic engagement in Nevada. The attached document summarizes youth engagement strategies. More information about this project, Nevada95 powered by the Guinn Center, can be found by visiting the Nevada95 website

A Nevada Civic Engagement Scan can be found here: Nevada Civic Engagment Scan Nov 2020

A Summary of State Programs to Use CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF)

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted into law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At $2 trillion, it is one of the largest relief packages in U.S. history. Included in the act is an estimated $560 billion for individuals, $500 billion for large corporations, $377 billion for small businesses, $340 billion in support for State and Local Governments, and $154 billion for Public Health.  Specifically, Title V of the CARES Act established the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), which provides financial relief to states, tribes, and local governments for the increased costs associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency. Per Title V, Nevada received over $1.25 billion allocated in the following manner:  $836 million to the State of Nevada; $295 million to Clark County, and $119 million to the City of Las Vegas. Recently, Governor Sisolak announced the distribution of $148 million to northern Nevada and rural counties, leaving a total of $688 million that must be disbursed and expended by December 31, 2020. This brief summarizes some of the programs other states have launched using CRF funds. (July 2020)

An Analysis of the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 has offered significant assistance to small businesses and nonprofits. Included in the federal aid package was $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was earmarked for loans to small businesses to cover costs associated with maintaining their workforce. As of April 16, 2020, the funds set aside to support small businesses through the PPP were exhausted. In this policy brief, the Guinn Center team reviews the PPP Loan data and compares Nevada to other states. (April 2020)

Following the conclusion of Round 2 of PPP funding, the Guinn Center summarized Round 1 and Round 2 of funding in this policy brief. See here: Guinn Center PPP Loan Analysis R2 May 2020

COVID-19 and Small Businesses in Nevada

This policy brief examines the impact of previous economic downturns on small businesses in Nevada, using the Great Recession as a case study for what impact the COVID-19 pandemic might have on the Silver State’s economy and overall employment trends. Experience suggests that while Nevada’s economy is resilient, Nevada’s small businesses in certain sectors may suffer from short-term job losses. (2020)

What the CARES Act Means for Nevada’s Families and Businesses

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted into law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At $2 trillion, it is one of the largest relief packages in U.S. history. It aims to shore up the economy and provide relief to families facing economic hardship due to the downturn caused by the pandemic. Included in the act is an estimated $560 billion for individuals, $500 billion for large corporations, $377 billion for small businesses, $340 billion in support for State and Local Governments, and $154 billion for Public Health. In this policy brief, we provide a summary of the key provisions of the CARES Act for individuals, families, and businesses. (April 2020)

See here for document in Spanish. Guinn Center CARES ACT Summary April 2020 (Spanish)

A Step Up: Economic and Financial Security for Nevada’s Families

The Great Recession of 2008 hit communities across the United States, but nowhere were the effects more acute than in Nevada. While Nevada’s economy still has not recovered to 2006 pre-recession levels, it is trending upward. Nevada is among the highest-ranked states in job and personal income growth, coupled with steadily increasing output. However, while economic expansion has yielded significant returns in the aggregate, those economic gains have not been distributed evenly across different segments of the population. As the population has grown, political leaders and agency officials have grappled with questions surrounding unmet needs and constrained resources. This policy brief examines recent data and identifies several economic trends facing Nevada’s families. (2019)

Federal Housing Assistance in Nevada

The objective of this policy brief is to determine how much federal housing assistance (loans, grants, and direct payments) Nevada receives. The data on loans and grants is available from USAspending.gov, the official source for spending data for the U.S. government. (2019)

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).

See here for a summary: Guinn Center Community Policing in Northern Nevada 2018 Summary

Question 1: Marsy's Law

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. (2018)

Question 2: The Amendment to the Sales and Use Tax Act of 1955

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. (2018)

Question 3: The Energy Choice Initiative (Voter Information Guide)

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)

Question 4: Medical Patient Tax Relief Act

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. (2018)

Question 5: The Automatic Voter Registration Initiative

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. (2018)

Question 6: The Renewable Energy Promotion Initiative

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. (2018)

Washoe County 1: Truckee River Flood Management Authority Funding

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. (2018)

Federal Revenue Streams in Nevada: A Data Snapshot

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)

Roadblocks: Transportation Barriers to Community Mobility and Independence

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. (2017)

Fact Sheet on Question 1: Background Check Initiative

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. (2016)

Fact Sheet on Question 2: Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana

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. (2016)

Fact Sheet on Question 3: Energy Choice

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. (2016)

Fact Sheet on Question 4: Medical Patient Tax Relief Act

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. (2016)

Fact Sheet on Clark County Question 5: Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI)

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. (2016)

Fact Sheet on Washoe County Question 1: Sales Tax for School Facilities

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. (2016)

Fact Sheet on Elko County Advisory Question 1: Fuel Revenue Indexing

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. (2016)

Nevada School Facilities Construction and Maintenance

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. (2016)

Executive Summary   Full Report

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Major Legislation Approved During the 2015-2017 Legislative Session

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. (2015)

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

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)

Executive Summary        Full Report

Development Incentives Revisited

In December 2015, Governor Sandoval called a special session 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. (2015)

Executive Summary

Development Incentives: A Guide for Nevada Legislators

As 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

Fact Sheet on Question 2: Nevada Constitutional Amendment

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)

Executive Summary                    Full Report  

Fact Sheet on the Education Initiative: Margin Tax

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)