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Ledge ‘11: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
by Andrew Barbano
Nov 13, 2010 | 882 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature will be remembered for meting out cruel and unusual punishment to all who come before it. Abandon hope, all ye who enter there. Gov.-elect No Huevos Sandoval is looking at raiding the coffers of cities and counties. This is the end of the chain letter started by Ronald Reagan’s 1980’s “New Federalism,” where underfunded programs were forced upon the states, which wrecked the former repositories of fiscal rectitude. The states then started passing the buck lower down the food chain. Nevada is the poster child of being at the end of that chain letter with nowhere to forward it. The retirement funds of school teachers and other public servants now stand more at risk than ever before.

Earlier this year, on my regional Barbwire TV special entitled “Suing for Schools,” I gave a brief synopsis of how to fix Nevada’s broken governmental and educational systems. Here it is for the erudition and derision of lobbyists and lawmakers alike.

Solving problems

Simple solutions to turn Nevada into a state rather than letting her revert to a 19th century mining camp:

1. Unwind the 1981 Tax Shift (aka the Tax Shaft), which reduced property taxes and made us dependent on unstable sales taxes, three of every four dollars of which are paid by Nevadans.

2. Immediately close loopholes allowing the mining industry to pay at a far lower tax rate than an average non-union dishwasher. Long term: Change the mining tax from the zilch of today to a system similar to the way we tax casinos — on their gross revenue.

3. Get state lawmakers to do what they promised and failed to do last year: close many of the corporate welfare tax exemptions in the state law such as the sales tax exemption for NASCAR teams at Las Vegas International Raceway. Remember casino mogul Steve Wynn’s tax subsidy of his megabucks personal art collection?

4. Eliminate STAR Bonds, which have put the City of Sparks in serious financial jeopardy thanks to the underperforming Sparks Marina/Scheels development.

5. Raise the tax on our largest, most profitable casinos, which, with minor exceptions, continue to enjoy the lowest taxes in the world. For more information go to

6. Stop spending room tax and property tax money on casino promotion through convention authorities and downtown redevelopment agencies. The room tax was imposed in 1955 to support local projects but has long since been skimmed by the gambling industry to promote with tax money what private enterprise should do for itself.

7. Tax profitable businesses that pay nothing or next to it, such as Wal-Mart and the Hyatt Place hotel at the Reno airport.

8. Keep in mind that Nevada can be successfully sued to raise taxes because of illegally underfunding education. On July 15, 2008, then-university Chancellor Jim Rogers published legal research noting that 27 other jurisdictions have lost in court. I am working to make the latter lawsuit happen. Perhaps only with such a legal gun to its head will lawmakers do more than continue their chronic habit of putting band-aids on machine gun wounds.

Revolting developments

My only predictions of the past several years, which have yet to come true, are the bankruptcies of Sparks and Reno. I have stated that Sparks will go down first because Reno has a better cash flow. Nothing has caused me to change my mind, although I fervently hope that I will be proved wrong. As long as both cities believe in wholesale welfare giveaways to profitable corporations that don’t need taxpayer help, I stand by my statements. Because of City Hall allowing bandit developers access to the public treasury, Sparks doesn’t have enough police officers. Sparks citizens administered an election day spanking, rejecting a regressive and shameful sales tax increase in the name of police protection.

A prophet is without honor in his own country

As I noted last l week, former Tribune reporter and columnist Dennis Myers produced the best commentary on wacko church lady Sharron Angle and her madcap senate campaign. Myers objectively researched and analyzed Angle, concluding she did not have the capacity to serve in high office. His Reno News & Review cover article “First Amendment vs. First Commandment” went viral on the web and was excerpted by countless newspapers and websites, which allowed the Barbwire into the postmortem analysis.

According to its website, last Sunday’s column was picked up by the religion section of the Daily Oklahoman, the newspaper of the capital city of Soonerland. I surmise it happened because nobody else followed up on the impact Myers’ work had in galvanizing the southern Nevada Mormon community to work for the re-election of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Reid has often been criticized by church traditionalists, but when they learned what Angle’s Reno pastor said about their religion, they got really pissed off. I was reliably informed that Myers’ piece set the church afire for Reid, resulting in the Sparks Tribune making it to Great Plains where football is a religion and churches run follytix.

All I can say to the Tribune’s Oklahoma readers is welcome aboard and...

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, second vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and editor of and, where links to many of the above items may be accessed. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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