Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MUTH'S TRUTHS 05/04/2011

FIRST FRIDAY HAPPY HOUR

This week’s First Friday Happy Hour in will feature Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain as our VIP guest, along with special guest Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.  Plus a toast to the Navy SEALs

Friday, May 6 at Stoney’s in Las Vegas from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  Free parking, no cover charge and 2-1 drinks.  First Friday is co-sponsored by conservative talk-show host Alan Stock and and KXNT 100.5 FM/840 AM.

SOS TO NEFF: BLOW IT OUT YOUR PIE HOLE!

As you may recall, accuracy-challenged liberal activist Erin Neff filed a frivolous complaint with the Secretary of State claiming that Assemblyman Ed Goedhart (R-Amargosa Valley) had violated Nevada’s campaign laws by allowing a worker who had been fired by the Legislative Counsel Bureau (LCB) to continue working in his office as a volunteer after Citizen Outreach retained her as a part-time legislative consultant.

Assemblyman Goedhart responded to the complaint on April 21, 2011 and the Secretary of State responded to his response today, essentially telling Neff to pound sand.  Click here to read Goedhart’s response, as well as the Secretary of State’s ruling

LOOKING FOR A SPEAKER?

Want your organization to get the inside scoop on what will happen next in Nevada politics and public policy?  Invite me to be your next speaker.  Shoot me an email to get rates and dates.

Upcoming Engagements
May 4: Las Vegas Valley Tea Party (Henderson, NV)
May 24: Southern Hills Republican Women (Henderson, NV)
July 9-10: Conservative Leadership Conference (Las Vegas, NV)
July 11: Pahrump Republican Women (Pahrump, NV)

SANDOVAL SPEAKS SOFTLY; CARRIES BIG STICK

In his 15-minute statewide speech to Nevadans Tuesday night, Gov. Brian Sandoval spoke softly, but make no mistake, he’s carrying a big stick – that being solid support from Republican in the state Senate (Assembly Republicans are another matter; but their leader has relegated them to irrelevancy, so who cares?) who won’t give Democrats the 2/3 super-majority they need to raise taxes or fees.

Indeed, Sens. Ben Kieckhefer and Joe Hardy – both of whom were widely believed to be possible votes for higher taxes when the session began – appeared on Jon Ralston’s “Face to Face” program Tuesday night (because no Democrat had the nerve to appear on the program, the host informed us) and stated flat out that the higher taxes ship had sailed; that *if* they might have been willing to consider higher taxes back then, they simply aren’t now.

If Kieckhefer and Hardy were “in play” in February, based on their solid performance on F2F Tuesday night, they sure aren’t “in play” now.

In addition, Kieckhefer dropped a bomb on tax-hike advocates when he told Ralston that Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford has never had a personal discussion with him about the budget and possible revenue enhancements.  To covet a tax hike, and need three Republican votes to get said tax hike, and never talk to one of the three Republicans most likely open to the possibility of voting for a tax hike is….

Political incompetence wrapped in stupidity.

OK, here’s the budget bottom line: Since introducing his $5.8 billion general fund budget in January, the economy has improved enough, in addition to other “found” money, that the governor is able to add almost $450 million to the pot.  That brings his proposed general fund budget to over $6.2 billion.

Now consider the fact that Nevada’s government is currently operating on a budget of around $6.4 billion, and what we’re suddenly talking about is a budget cut of less than $200 million.  Hardly “draconian,” especially considering the economic times we live in today.

For the Tax Hiker Caucus, Sandoval had some strong words, softly delivered: It’s time for government to make the same kinds of “sacrifices already made by those in the private sector” over the last three years.  The state “simply cannot afford to deliver every program” people want. His proposed budget is “reasonable” despite all the yelping and hyperbole from detractors. 

“Yet they offer no plan for how to find additional money,” Sandoval accurately accused.

Indeed, let’s not let the Democrats off the hook on this point.  They will soon unveil their secret tax hike plan while claiming they haven’t had enough time to craft such a plan.  Hogwash. 

They’ve known since the end of 2009 that this day was coming; that the recession was likely to still be underway; that the one-time federal stimulus money wouldn’t be there again; and that the “sunsetted” tax hikes were going to, you know, sunset. 

And if Gov. Sandoval could put together a budget with just two months notice, the Democrats sure as heck could have come up with a tax hike plan with over two years’ notice.

To play hide-the-ball with their tax hike until there was only one month left in the 2011 session is worse than irresponsible.  It’s an insult to Nevadans who deserved to know what the Democrat alternative was with sufficient time to hold hearings and debate it. 

Instead, Democrats have been hosting dog-and-pony shows using children as “human budget shields” while meeting secretly with special interests like the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce to shove yet another billion dollar tax hike up our collective wazoos at the last minute, just like they did last session.

But unlike the last session, Democrats don’t have Sen. Bill Raggio to run GOP interference for them this time.  In addition, they’re facing a Republican governor wielding a big enough stick to kill softly any and all efforts to raise taxes on Nevada’s small businesses and families.

Game, set….

CAMPAIGN & GRASSROOTS TRAINING

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DUDE, WHERE’S MY VOUCHER?

In his Tuesday night speech, Gov. Brian Sandoval promised to put the $274 million surplus budget windfall into Nevada’s failed education system.  He also promised to establish “triggers” so that if the economy continues to improve, future surplus windfalls will also be directed to Nevada’s failed education system. 

In addition, the governor specifically directed that the budget surplus money go to the failed class-size reduction program, the failed – or at least unproven – all-day kindergarten program, and non-academic extracurricular activities.  He also said this:

“I know in my heart that education isn’t just about the money.  What matters most is NOT how much we spend on education, but how well we spend it.  To me, education is not about ‘the system.’  It’s about the students, the teachers and the learning environment they cultivate and share.”

The governor went on to decry “the failing culture that has become all too pervasive” in our public schools, noting that “thousands of our students under-perform in virtually every academic subject on every possible test.” 

As such, the governor again advocated for his public school reforms, including performance bonuses for exceptional teachers, greater local control, and an end to the “last in, first out” rule that means school districts have to lay off the last teacher hired, even if the last teacher hired is clearly superior to another teacher who was hired first but is stinking up the classroom.

All fine and good.  But here’s where the governor lost me.

In concluding his remarks on education reform, Gov. Sandoval called for spending “future revenue on the education of our children, move decisions back to the classroom where they belong…and begin to remove the obstacles to opportunity that confront too many of our students.”

However, the governor’s stated reform proposals in his speech don’t really dedicate future revenue to the education of our children so much as the continued propping up of the failed public school system.  Ideally, if you want true education reform, the money should follow the child, not the school district where the child lives.

And what we really need isn’t to move education decisions back to the public school classrooms; what we need is to move education decisions back to PARENTS, including funding to allow low- and middle-income parents the ability to exercise the same school choices as wealthy parents.

Indeed, if you want to “remove the obstacles” that are standing in the way of a better education for a lot of children, you need to remove the monopoly the government enjoys over education, including the destructive power the teachers union.  And there’s only one way to do that:

Universal school vouchers and/or tax credits.

Yet despite making school vouchers part of his campaign platform; despite submitting a school voucher proposal that legislative Democrats didn’t even give a public hearing…not one word about school vouchers in the governor’s speech Tuesday night.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen this play before from Republicans. 

For example, President George W. Bush initially included school vouchers in his No Child Left Behind proposal, only to drop it in the face of opposition by Sen. Ted Kennedy.

More recently, Gov. Jim Gibbons promised to introduce a school voucher bill as part of the 2010 special legislative session in which he had the power for FORCE Democrats to at least hear and debate the merits of the proposal.  But when push came to shove, he dropped it.

It now appears that Gov. Sandoval, too, has abandoned school vouchers, at least for now, and is instead focused on putting new lipstick on the public school pig.  Money will continue to flow to the government-run schools rather than to the student.  The government-run school monopoly will continue to be empowered, not parents. The status quo is protected.

The problem is that if all that additional money doesn’t fix the problem, and there’s historical evidence to suggest it won’t, there is no escape route for parents and students trapped in the current under-performing system.  It’s business as usual.  Which means we sentence yet another generation of Nevada students to educational mediocrity….or worse.

Yes, I realize that busting the government monopoly over education through school vouchers and tax credits is hard work politically, but aren’t our children worth it?  Shouldn’t we - especially the governor, using his bully pulpit - at least talk about it?  Isn’t it time to give choice a chance?

STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS/POLITICAL CONSULTING

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FOLLOW CHUCK ON TWITTER

If you’re not following me on Twitter, you’re missing out on a lot of great “stuff” that doesn’t otherwise make it here in Muth’s Truths.

·         Considering how critical a full-time Treasurer must be in these trying economic times, will Kate Marshall be resigning to run for CD2?
·         Citizen Outreach's new Federal Affairs Director takes on government's new assault on personal liberty: hookah. http://bit.ly/m4VSE3
·         Heller's office: "U.S. Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV) will be sworn in to the United States Senate at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 9, 2011."
·         Viguerie: Conservatives Today Suffer From the Anti-Conservative Policies of Bush 41 and Bush 43 http://bit.ly/mUAFUZ
·         PLAN's plan: Tax the tar outta everybody; over $1 billion worth. Soon-to-be-unveiled Democrat plan: PLAN-lite. Tax-and-spend all over again!
·         If we can see photos of Americans killed by OBL and other terrorists, why can't we see photo's of scumbag terrorists killed by Navy SEALs?
·         The doom-and-gloomers over at Hyperbole U are doing their Eeyore impression again. Ralston has the details. http://bit.ly/jILl6j
·         Muth's Truth: "(Sandoval) being very prudent in not...creating a budget that would be much larger than it is today." http://bit.ly/lqL9hK
·         KTNV has story on misleading "Las Vegas Parking Enforcement" booting cars in downtown Las Vegas, including my own. http://bit.ly/ih6nx6
·         After Assembly GOP chief Goicoechea throws temper-tantrum over redistricting map, Senate Repubs toss him a binkie. http://bit.ly/lqmmKx
·         SML Horsford schedules 2-hour briefing for Thursday, May 5 at 10 am at Western Nevada College. Secret tax hike plan finally to be revealed?


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