Policy Reports

Guinn Center Research

chartThe Guinn Center is a research center/policy lab focused on providing fact-based and well-reasoned analysis of critical policy issues that advance evidence-based policy solutions. Recognizing the time constraints of the decision makers, our analysis and information is accessible, timely, and relevant.

This page includes recent policy reports published within the past 6-12 months.  Archived reports are included under the issues tab.

Tax and Fiscal Policy

Why did Nevada experience the third-largest drop in its labor force participation rate (LFPR) after the COVID-19 pandemic?

This policy brief summarizes the findings of our December 2023 Trends Analysis, produced in partnership with the UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), and looks ahead to our continuation of this research in 2024.

Among the key findings of this report:
• Nevada and Clark County’s reductions in labor force participation post-pandemic appear tied to both the economy and education
• Post-pandemic, over one in five jobs in Nevada and one in four jobs in Clark County are still tied to leisure and hospitality
• Nevada’s labor force participation for those with less than a bachelor’s degree (ages 21 to 64) declined from 75.4 percent in 2019 to 74.3 percent in 2021
• Nevada’s lower LFPR in 2021 partly reflected a slightly larger share of the population ages 65 and over compared to 2019
• Nevada has reported some of the lowest labor force participation rates among those between the ages of 55 and 64

The Governor’s Recommended Budget for the State of Nevada: 2023-2025 Biennium

This data snapshot provides a broad perspective on the Governor’s Recommended Budget for the 2023-2025 biennium. It visualizes statewide revenues and expenditures for the upcoming biennium and situates the budget in historical context

Revisiting Property Taxes in Nevada

This policy brief begins with a brief overview of the relationship between property taxes and K-12 Education Funding. The report examines structural characteristics of Nevada’s property tax system that limit revenues. The policy brief concludes with a discussion of recent efforts to effect legislative change in Nevada, summarizes recent property tax legislation and proposals in other states, and compiles the statutory and constitutional authorities pertaining to Nevada’s property tax revenue limits in an accessible table. (2020)

Property Tax 2-pager: Guinn Center Property Taxes Two-Pager 

The Proposed Budget Reserves Process for State Funding in Nevada

In response to the economic impact of COVID-19 on Nevada’s budget, Governor Steve Sisolak sent a memo in April 2020 to State agencies noting that actual state revenue will not meet previous projected revenue projections and that he is examining the necessity of recommending budget reserves. In practice, these budget reserves are recommended budget cuts to General Fund appropriations for departments. Departments must meet certain targets, though these are subject to change as the economy recovers. The budget reserves that each department must meet are up to four percent for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and from six percent to fourteen percent for FY 2021. The Governor’s Finance Office prepared a spreadsheet that itemizes, by agency, division, and/or budget account (e.g., programs, salaries), General Fund appropriations for each fiscal year and budget cut amounts at each potential budget cut point. Using data contained in the spreadsheet, we evaluate the budget reserve targets and the implications for State funding in the current biennium (FY 2020-FY 2021).

Dedicated Funding Streams to K-12 Education: The State Education Fund

The Nevada Plan, the Silver State’s mechanism for funding education since 1967, was replaced during the 80th (2019) Legislative Session by Senate Bill (SB) 543 with the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan. It will be implemented beginning with the 2021-2023 biennium. While one purpose of the new funding plan is to differentiate per-pupil funding based on the needs of individual students, another purpose is to make the amount of funding dedicated to K-12 education more transparent. This report addresses the second purpose of the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan – specifically the State/local taxes and fees that will be dedicated to public elementary and secondary education.

Education and Workforce Development

State Funded Financial Aid Programs in Nevada

This report examines the effectiveness and associated costs of three state-funded financial aid programs: The Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship, the Silver State Opportunity Grant, and the Nevada Promise Scholarship. It finds that each of the programs works at increasing the percentage of students who complete a program of study, but it also finds that the costs are steadily increasing (specifically the Millennium Scholarship).

The Digital Divide and Nevada's Special Education Population

This policy brief examines the impact of the pandemic on the educational experiences of Nevada’s students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), with a specific focus on how well digital technologies were incorporated into instructional practices and the students’ education experience. Our team conducted this analysis through an examination of state and national data, and by drawing on qualitative data derived from focus groups with teachers and families and a survey instrument. 

Rural Education in Nevada

Comparative data and research suggest that rural students and school districts face their own, sometimes unique, challenges. This policy report provides additional context around Nevada’s educational outcomes for all students, while comparing rural and urban students. (August 2020)

Financial Aid 101

The Guinn Center partnered with the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office to organize and offer a series of free financial aid workshops for students, families, school counselors, and education advocates. 

COVID-19 Public Health Concerns and K-12 Instruction

The goals of this policy brief are to: (1) summarize the existing research on COVID-19 as it relates to children and young adults and their infection and transmission rates and test positivity rates; (2) summarize the guidance of national and public health agencies as it relates to school reopening plans; and (3) summarize the experiences of other countries that have reopened schools. (August 2020)

Nevada's Digital Divide

In order to continue educating Nevada’s approximately 500,000 students amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, Nevada’s K-12 public schools have shifted to virtual education. However, Clark County School District noted that approximately 27 percent of CCSD 2019-2020 student enrollment, or 120,000 students, would be unable to access virtual instruction once schools temporarily closed because they lack access to a computer and/or the Internet. Similarly, Washoe County School District noted that many of their students would not be able to retrieve their assignments electronically during the school closures. Many stakeholders have raised concerns that the “digital divide” could further widen achievement gaps. To better understand how significant the digital divide is for Nevada’s K-12 students, the Guinn Center analyzed data from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS).  This data provides useful information about the digital divide, and the geographic areas where the digital divide is more prevalent. (2020)

See here for infographic: https://bit.ly/2XgOtle


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. (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 can be found by visiting the Nevada95 website

Social Policy

Final OSY Report

This report summarizes and analyzes key findings from focus groups held with out-of-school youth and out-of-school youth service providers in southern Nevada to better understand the reasons young people leave school as well as what types of resources best help out-of-school youth.

Behavioral Health in Nevada

This report summarizes the behavioral health system in Nevada and discusses some of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on demand for behavioral health services in the state.

Integrated Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities in Nevada: An Assessment

Despite reports, initiatives, and new policies enacted in Nevada in recent years, data reveal that integrated employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) remain limited. Nevada lags most other states in the extent to which individuals with intellectual disabilities participate in integrated employment. States support individuals with intellectual disabilities in four settings: integrated employment, community-based non-work, facility-based work, and facility-based non-work. Over the period 2008-2018, the percentage of individuals with I/DD receiving integrated employment services fell from 20 percent to 17 percent. Facility-based services – both work and non-work – account for more than 80 percent of services rendered to individuals with intellectual disabilities and 90 percent of total funding. Given that Nevada’s stakeholders have identified competitive, integrated employment as a goal and have embraced Employment First as a guiding principle, why have integrated employment outcomes declined? This report seeks to answer that question.

In a follow on project, the Guinn Center hosted focus groups, working groups, and webinars. We also include a guide (English and Spanish) for young adults and adults with different abilities seeking employment. We provide another guide for employers seeking to make their workplace more inclusive. The guides are a summary of the information presented during the focus groups and in the Powerpoint slide deck (below). 

Guinn Center Integrated Employment Professionals 2022

Guinn Center Integrated Employment Employers 2022

GC Transition Handout for Youth

GC Transition Handout for Adults

GC Transition Handout for Employers

Youth Outcomes in Nevada

This policy report summarizes demographic characteristics of youth in Nevada and several outcomes for youth in Nevada in the areas of education, health, employment, and use of substances.  

Helping Hands: An Assessment of the Personal Care Aide Workforce in Nevada

This policy report summarizes the personal care aide landscape in Nevada and identifies challenges faced by personal care aides in the workplace. The Guinn Center analyzed data from a broad range of governmental, academic, and non-profit entities, while using official government documents to inform our research further, as well as secondary sources to provide context. Our team evaluated four primary dimensions of the workforce to provide a comprehensive assessment: demographic, social, and economic characteristics; training requirements; employment, occupational projections, and wages; and public financing of personal care services. (September 2020)

Slide Deck Summary: Guinn Center Helping Hands Deck

Executive Summary: Guinn Center Helping Hands Ex Summary

PCA Infographic in English: PCAs Infographic 2020

PCA Infographic in Spanish: PCAs Infographic Aug 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color in Nevada

This policy brief identifies the preliminary health and economic impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color in Nevada. (September 2020)

COVID-19 and Eviction Risk in Nevada

In response to the economic impacts of COVID-19, Governor Sisolak issued an evictions moratorium, which is scheduled to expire August 31, 2020. The Guinn Center partnered with the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project (CEDP) to project the potential increase in evictions following the expiration of the current state moratorium. (July 2020)

COVID-19 and the Impact of Recession on the Economy and Housing in Nevada

This policy brief examines the impact of recessions on the economy, broadly speaking, and on housing more specifically. By looking at metrics for Nevada following 9/11 and the 2007-2009 recession, or the Great Recession, we hope to provide insight into the potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. (2020)

COVID-19 Affects Housing Security in Nevada

In our latest policy brief, we note that COVID-19 has forced businesses and nonprofits to lay-off employees. Now, with reduced income – or no income at all – housing may become unaffordable for many Nevadans, placing them at an increased risk of eviction. Many federal, state, and local decision-makers have discussed the implications of COVID-19 on housing stability, resulting in a patchwork response to this problem across the country. 

Mental Health Spending in Nevada

This policy brief examines mental health spending in Nevada over time. (2020)

Capacity and Financing for Public Health Emergencies in Nevada

The scale of the novel coronavirus, and its associated disease, COVID-19, is yet unknown in Nevada as cases continue to arise. At the time of this writing, 55 people in Nevada have tested positive for COVID-19. School and office closures, cancellations of major events, and temporary disruptions to the supply chain have heightened the sense of anxiety around the Silver State. The unease has been compounded by the State’s limited health care capacity, about which we have written beforeIn this policy brief, we present a snapshot of the current health care system capacity and then more closely examine budgetary resources available to Nevada for public health emergencies. (2020)

Environment and Climate

Strengthening Heat Resiliency in Communities of Color in Southern Nevada

The Guinn Center, in partnership with Morrison Institute at Arizona State University, examined the impact of extreme heat during COVID-19 on Latino and Native American communities in Nevada and Arizona.  This report summarizes our findings and includes recommendations that policy makers in Nevada may want to take under advisement. This project was funded by the Walmart Foundation.  

Strengthening Resiliency in Communities of Color in Nevada and Arizona

The Guinn Center, in partnership with Morrison Institute at Arizona State University, is examining the impact of extreme heat during COVID-19 on Latino and Native American communities in Nevada and Arizona.  Specifically, our teams are asking: What heat-related challenges did COVID-19 expose or exacerbate?  What policies help address these challenges What are the gaps? How can policy help reduce negative impacts? This project is funded by the Walmart Foundation. As part of this project, our team conducted over 50 interviews with community leaders and members and designed and administered a survey.  This powerpoint summarizes our initial findings in Nevada. Our final report will be released in August 2021.