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by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  June 9, 2005 - reprinted with permission

 By now you should have heard about TABOR which is popular in Colorado where monies proposed to be spent by the government are limited to prior years spending plus population growth plus inflation. Anything beyond that would be refunded to the tax payers, although government can ask voter for permission to spend the surplus. Not a bad idea for Nevada and it should be done now considering the way this 2005 session and the 2003 one went. In the 2003 session when the governor insisted on the $833 million tax increase and the legislature approved it even after state advisors predicted there was going to be a double digit increase of present taxes so new taxes weren’t needed. That should have told people it was time to take charge of the spendthrifts in Carson City but we didn’t do it and now look at what has happened in 2005 with at least a $600 million surplus after a 45% spending increase. It really should be obvious that we cannot trust them to themselves once they confer in Carson City.
NEVADA PROP 13 is a California style real-estate tax cap, where existing properties are capped at some agreed upon date and remain that way with a rate set at 1% of market value and limited to a 2% increase per year. When the property is sold it is reassessed to market value. At our June 9th meeting Sharron Angle of the legislature will have explained all of that to us so that we are thoroughly informed and prepared for the petition drive after the first of September when it is OK to do so. This has proved to be a blessing in California and the only way long term they have found a way for people to be able to afford to stay in their homes.
It is unfortunate we are being forced to consider such a proposal all because our Clark County Commissioners and city Council’s and Mayors of our four cities have let ourselves be savaged by developers who are not paying their way so growth is not paying for growth; a great thought of a few seconds some 15 ears back. Growth is killing us in spite of what the commissioners and a certain mayor may have to say. Almost every year the worst spender, the SNWA, comes out with another 2 or 3 billion more to spend and that is only one entity of government. Then there are the roads, gas, electric, sewer, police, fire, primary secondary schools, libraries, health care like UMC, UNLV and on and on. Is it any wonder none of us can keep track of our cost of life. As a matter of fact it might not be only our cost of food or prescription drugs but also whether we can afford to live or die and the proper day to leave this heaven or hell on earth we live in. What a way to feel about our existence. Well let’s not dwell on it and just drive home with our eyes closed. Can’t be any worse than I see all of the time when my eyes are open.

We might as well throw every thing in the pot and see what comes to the top. After this present session of the legislature it has convinced me more than ever we should do the finance reform that I came up with several years back with the help of our good friend Dr. Larry Paulson and a few comments by friend Knight Allen. If you look at the way money flies into the pockets of most politicians it makes you sick. I remember it is but a very few years when $17,000 was enough for a campaign and now it seems to be so much more than that that no one can understand why it costs more in any given election than most of us will save to retire on in a life time. Disgusting isn’t it? So what can we do in campaign finance reform that makes sense? Easy just make the money for a district run come out of that district and keep the carpet baggers out.

Only A NATURAL PERSON WHO IS REGISTERED TO VOTE may make campaign contributions to all political candidates in the state of Nevada.
To the Governor, Senate and Assembly:
For quite some time we have felt there is something wrong with who or what can make campaign contributions in the state. Therefore we propose this very simple reform. We propose that only "A NATURAL PERSON" may make campaign contributions (and as in Alaska’s law, put a definite "prohibited" after all other possibilities). To further narrow it to citizen persons we propose the following:

*1. Only NATURAL PERSONS WHO ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE may make campaign contributions. Adding registered to vote to a natural person pretty well eliminates for sure the wiggle room to include unwanted special interests including foreign interests.
*2. Only NATURAL PERSONS registered to vote in the candidate’s district may make campaign contributions to that candidate. Your residence is where you live and are registered to vote.
*3. Campaign contributions by a NATURAL PERSON shall be limited to $1,000 in the primary and $1,000 in the general election. Webster's definition of NATURAL is: by birth pertaining to nature.
Webster's definition of PERSON is: an individual human being, especially as distinguished from a thing or lower animal; an individual man, woman or child. In conclusion we know only you and I as, Natural Persons will understand this campaign finance law proposal so that makes it a great law. No more packs or special interests.

By the way Nevada’s present law talks about a PERSON defined as a natural person, corporations, government entities, unions, PACs etc... Pretty sneaky isn’t it?

More and more we are hearing the rumble that there needs to be more affordable housing. Where have we heard that before? Well commissioner Yvonne Atkinson Gates went through a period in her life drumming up the affordable thing. What I hear coming down the pike now is about as bad as it could get. You know the idea that we should mix cheaper housing in the midst of market rate housing and force the developers to do it. Not a great idea. Who in their right mind would want to live in market rate housing in the midst of some kind of subsidized housing? Not many people I can tell you that. So where do we go before it even gets started? With the rising cost of housing maybe it is time to go to Uncle Sam to obtain about 1500 acres of land for a dollar. Make it a master planned community of real quality manufactured housing and a complete community with all of the amenities such as commercial, industrial, institutional, educational, health care and the likes for two age groups; seniors and first time home owners. We suggest thinking of it as a non profit cooperative community where the ownership of the property always reverts back to the nonprofit cooperative which is responsible for keeping everything up to code and in livable condition thereby making it a very desirable community to live next to with other market rate housing in master plan developments. There are pages more we could write about but this is merely a seed of an idea to make people think out of the box when it comes to affordable housing. Would I live there? Let me work on the planning of it and no question I would love to live there.