Posts Tagged ‘Nevada’

Active Voters Increase To Nearly 1.3 Million

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:16 pm December 3rd, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nearly 1.3 million Nevadans are registered as active voters as of the end of November, the Secretary of State’s office said today.

The increase of more than 41,000 active voters since the close of registration for the general election was due in large part to the number of inactive voters who cast ballots on Nov. 6 and automatically became active voters according to federal and state law.

Photo courtesy of Joebeone via Wikimedia Commons.

Of the 1,299,126 active registrants statewide, 42.1 percent (546,903) are Democrats, 34.4 percent (447,406) are Republicans, 17.5 percent (227,151) are non-partisans, 4.7 percent (60,590) are members of the Independent American Party, and the remaining 1.3 percent (17,076) are members of the Libertarian or other minor parties.

At the close of registration on Oct. 16 for the general election, 1,257,621 Nevadans were active registered voters.

Nevada Budget Likely To See Fewer Impacts From “Fiscal Cliff”

By Sean Whaley | 11:57 am November 20th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The impacts of the so-called “fiscal cliff” on Nevada’s state budget would likely be less significant than for many other states because of our lower dependence on federal spending, according to an analysis by the Pew Center on the States.

The impact on state tax revenues do not apply because Nevada does not have a personal or corporate income tax, according to the report The Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on the States. The report examines the potential effects on each of the states.

Analysis includes Nevada-specific numbers

On the federal spending cut side of the equation, Nevada’s share of federal grants subject to sequester, looked at as a percentage of state revenue, is slightly higher at 6.7 percent than the national average of 6.6 percent, and so could mean financial impacts.

But Nevada ranks well below the national average for federal spending on procurement, salaries and wages as a percentage of the state’s gross domestic product at 3 percent compared to the national average of 5.3 percent.

Nevada is also below the federal average for federal defense spending on procurement, salaries and wages as a percentage of the state GDP at 1.8 percent compared to the national average of 3.5 percent.

Federal non-defense spending on procurement, salaries and wages as a percentage of state GDP is 1.2 percent in Nevada compared to 1.8 percent nationally.

These numbers cited in the Pew report are all based on 2010 information.

And federal non-defense workforce as a percentage of total employment in the state is 0.9 percent in Nevada compared to 1 percent nationally, based on 2012 data.

But the Pew analysis notes: “The general economic slowdown that could result if the full fiscal cliff were allowed to take effect would likely overwhelm any of the separate impacts.”

Nevada officials are looking at the issue as one of several budget variables

The report, released Nov. 15, comes as Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is finalizing his 2013-15 state spending plan, which will take effect on July 1, 2013.

The impact of the federal fiscal cliff is just one more variable that could affect Nevada’s general fund budget. Another is expanding Medicaid to a new group of eligible state residents. Sandoval has not yet announced his decision on whether to support the expansion, which would be paid for nearly entirely with federal funds in the first few years.

“The Budget Division is currently evaluating the impacts of sequestration on federal funding to the state of Nevada,” said Director Jeff Mohlenkamp in a statement. “Specifically, we are researching reductions that would have direct impact on services to citizens. Some federal reductions may eliminate the resources to provide services but not eliminate requirements to maintain service levels. The potential for this type of unfunded mandate is of particular interest to the Budget Division as we prepare the budget for FY 2013 – 2015.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding other elements of the ‘fiscal cliff,’ ” he added. “ We understand the possible implications on the larger economy. At this point, we cannot speculate further as most of the critical decisions have not been made.”

The Pew study shows some states more dependent on federal spending

The Pew report on the fiscal cliff says that federal grants to the states constitute about one-third of total state revenues, and federal spending affects states’ economic activity and thus their amount of tax revenues.

Roughly 18 percent of federal grant dollars flowing to the states would be subject to the fiscal year 2013 across-the-board cuts under the sequester, according to the Federal Funds Information for States, including funding for education programs, nutrition for low-income women and children, public housing, and other programs.

Because states differ in the type and amount of federal grants they receive, their exposure to the grant cuts would vary. In all, the federal grants subject to sequester make up more than 10 percent of South Dakota’s revenue, compared with less than 5 percent of Delaware’s revenue.

Federal spending on defense accounts for more than 3.5 percent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the states, but there is wide variation across the states. Federal defense spending makes up almost 15 percent of Hawaii’s GDP, compared with just 1 percent of state GDP in Oregon.

The fiscal cliff, a series of expiring federal tax provisions and scheduled spending cuts, are set to take effect in January unless Congress reaches agreement on a deficit-reduction plan.

Scheduled tax changes account for roughly four-fifths – or $393 billion – of the total amount of the fiscal cliff. The scheduled spending cuts account for $98 billion – or about one-fifth – of the federal budget impact of the fiscal cliff. Over half of this amount is due to sequestration required under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

“To understand the full cost and benefits of proposals to address the fiscal cliff, policy makers need to know how federal and state policies are linked,” said Pew Project Director Anne Stauffer. “The implications for states should be part of the discussion so that problems are not simply shifted from one level of government to another.”

If the full force of the fiscal cliff is realized, the federal deficit would be reduced by $491 billion, the Pew Center analysis says. However, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the entirety of the fiscal cliff would be a major driver of a general economic slowdown in 2013. Such an outcome would likely negate the more specific, separate impacts described in the analysis.

“Given the uncertainty about whether any or all of the policies in the fiscal cliff will be addressed temporarily or permanently, it is important to understand that the effects of the different components will vary across states,” Stauffer said.


National GOP Group Raises Nevada Voting Machine Concerns

By Sean Whaley | 6:31 pm November 1st, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Republican National Committee said today that there is evidence to suggest that voters in six states, including Nevada, have encountered situations with electronic voting machines recording votes for President Obama when Mitt Romney was selected instead.

The RNC in a letter asked election officials in each state to recalibrate all voting machines on the morning of election day to ensure there are no problems with the machines.

“I further understand that the causes of this problem are varied, and include miscalibration and hyper-sensitivity of the machines,” said the letter signed by John R. Phillippe, Jr., chief counsel to the RNC.

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller wasted no time in responding to the concerns, saying in his own letter that Phillippe, “fails to provide any direct evidence that any particular voter in Nevada experienced any ‘errors’ with their voting machine or any details which could be used to open an investigation, including the names or contact information of any particular voter or polling location where ‘errors’ have been reported in Nevada . . .”

Secretary of State Ross Miller.

Similar claims of electronic voting machine errors were made by a handful of voters in Nevada in 2010 in the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Harry Reid and GOP challenger Sharron Angle, but no evidence of any errors was found. Reid defeated Angle in the race.

Miller said the 2010 complaints were investigated with the assistance of the FBI and the Nevada Attorney General’s office, and concluded that claims of malfunctioning voter machines were without merit.

Other states cited in the RNC letter are Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri and Colorado.

Nevada Again A Focus Of Presidential Campaigns

By Sean Whaley | 5:34 pm November 1st, 2012

RENO – Proof of Nevada’s importance in the outcome of the horse race that is the presidential election continued to be on display today, with President Obama visiting Las Vegas and GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan making stops here and in Southern Nevada.

Ryan, appearing in front of a crowd estimated by local law enforcement at about 600, continued to push the Romney-Ryan ticket message calling for change, pointing to Obama’s failed efforts at job creation.

Paul Ryan speaks at a rally today in Reno. / Nevada News Bureau.

Nevada leads the country in  unemployment at 11.8 percent in September.

He also stumped for Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who is locked in a battle with Rep. Shelley Berkley in the U.S. Senate race.

With only days before the Tuesday general election, both campaigns continued to press undecided voters in battleground states including Nevada and Colorado.

“The economy is limping along,” Ryan said. “It’s growing at less than half the rate President Obama said it would if he could just pass this stimulus plan. This is not what a real recovery looks like.

“The president can’t run on this record,” he said. “He can’t say to Nevadans, ‘look at my record therefore vote for me.’ This is why he’s running this kind of a campaign of division, of distraction, of distortion. To try and win an election by default. We’re not going to let him get away with it, are we.”

Ryan criticized a recent comment by Obama that he would create a new cabinet position focused on business if he wins another term, saying such a position already exists and is called the Secretary of Commerce.

“We don’t need a new secretary of business,” he said.

What the county needs is immediate presidential executive orders putting “ObamaCare on the path to extinction,” cutting red tape and excessive federal regulation and allowing energy production on federal lands, Ryan said.

At nearly the same time in Southern Nevada, Obama took the stage with crowd chants of “four more years,” according to an account from the press pool reporter covering the event.

About 4,500 people were on hand to hear the president speak, according to North Las Vegas Director of Administration Al Nayola. Obama began by addressing the crisis wrought by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast, assuring the crowd that help will come for them.

Obama then laid out the choices people have in this election, highlighting the differences between him and Romney. He talked about the growth of jobs in the country and the end of the war in Iraq. Whenever he referenced Romney’s policies the crowd “booed,” until he turned it into cheers by saying, “Don’t boo, vote.”

“We made real progress in the past four years, but Nevada, you know our work is not done,” Obama said.

Ryan also planned to visit Southern Nevada today, not to rally voters but to stop by the Romney-Ryan campaign office to thank volunteers.

Early voting ends Friday in Nevada. Election day is Tuesday.


Audio clips:

Paul Ryan says Obama’s record on job creation is a failure:

110112Ryan1 :31 election by default.”

Ryan says the country needs to put ObamaCare on the path to extinction:

110112Ryan2 :22 our federal lands.”


Nevada’s Broader Jobless Rate Remains Above 20 Percent

By Sean Whaley | 10:07 am October 26th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A broader measure of Nevada’s unemployment picture, including those who have given up looking for work, showed continued improvement through the third quarter of 2012 but remains above 20 percent, a federal report shows.

Called the U-6 rate, it declined in Nevada from 22.1 percent in the four quarters through June 2012 to 21.4 percent through September for a decline of seven-tenths of a percentage point, according to the quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U-6 rate is sometimes referred to as the “actual” jobless rate because it includes discouraged workers and those working part-time who would like to be in full-time jobs.

Nationally, the U-6 unemployment rate is 15 percent in the 12 months through September, down from 15.3 percent through June.

Nevada is now the only state with a U6 rate above 20 percent. California’s U6 rate dropped to 19.6 percent in the latest report, down from 20.3 percent through June.

North Dakota has the lowest rate at 6 percent.

Nevada’s U-6 rate compares to the state’s official September seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 11.8 percent reported last week by the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), which declined three-tenths of a percentage point from August.

Nevada continues to lead the nation in both measures of unemployment.

Nevada’s official jobless rate peaked at 14 percent in October 2010. The U-6 rate in Nevada for the 12 months of 2010 was 23.6 percent. The latest quarterly U6 report reflects a decline of 2.2 percentage points since then.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR, said last week when the September jobless report was released that he expects to see continued but modest improvement in the jobless numbers over the next few months.

“Nevada’s economy and our labor markets are on the mend,” he said.

Earlier this month, DETR also reported that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell in September to their lowest level in five years, dropping to under 14,000 in a month for the first time since September 2007.

The Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States shows six different jobless rates using different measures. The U-6 rate includes discouraged workers, defined as people who want work but who had not searched for work in the previous four weeks because they believed no jobs were available to them. It also includes “marginally attached” workers, defined as those who had not looked for work in the previous four weeks for any reason.

Finally the measure includes those employed part-time for economic reasons, defined as those working less than 35 hours per week who want to work full time, are available to do so, and gave an economic reason – their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job – for working part time. These individuals are sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that this broader definition of unemployment is based on relatively small sample sizes at the state level.

Romney Rallies Reno Voters In Effort To Win Nevada

By Sean Whaley | 2:41 pm October 24th, 2012

RENO – Gov. Mitt Romney fired up a crowd of about 2,000 enthusiastic Northern Nevada  voters today, urging them to get to the polls and help him take the battleground state that is Nevada 13 days from now.

Romney told the crowd that President Obama is out of ideas, out of excuses and will be out of office come Nov. 6.

The president, “doesn’t understand what it takes to get this economy going, he doesn’t have a plan to get jobs for Americans, I do and that’s why I’m going to win,” he said.

Gov. Mitt Romney fired up a Reno crowd today. / Nevada News Bureau.

He promised to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act, which he referred to as Obamacare, and stop the raid of Medicare funds to pay for it.

Romney said that if Obama is reelected, the national debt will grow from $16 trillion to $20 trillion by the end of his second term.

“I will get America to finally be on track to a balanced budget,” he said.

In his second Nevada visit in as many days, Romney held the rally at the Reno Events Center downtown in a county viewed by many political observers as holding the key to a GOP victory on Nov. 6. He spoke for about 20 minutes.

In a display of just how critical both parties view the state with its six electoral votes, Obama is scheduled to make yet another Nevada appearance later today in Las Vegas.

Nevada voter registration leans Democratic, with 41.9 percent active registered voters to 34.7 percent for Republicans, with another 17.4 percent nonpartisans. Early voting, which began Saturday and runs through Nov. 2, has also favored Democrats so far, with 81,694 votes cast by Democrats through Oct. 23 compared to 62,031 cast by Republicans and 28,981 cast by nonpartisans.

In his remarks, Romney said the election isn’t just about big national issues, but about America’s families and whether they will be able to find jobs and have the ability to choose the school their children attend.

“And I understand what it’s going to take to get this country strong again and provide the answers that your families need,” he said. “Because this is an election about two very different pathways for America. The one represented by the president is in fact one with $20 trillion in debt. He started with $10 trillion, he’s up to $16 (trillion) on his way to $20 (trillion). I’ll balance the budget instead.”

Romney said his five step plan to get the country’s economy working again includes more development of oil, coal, gas and renewable energy, expanding foreign trade, providing training for job seekers, working toward a balanced federal budget and championing small business.

“I want to get small business going again and that means I want to keep taxes down on small business; I want to get regulators to see their job is encouraging small business, not crushing it,” he said. “I’ll make small business the centerpiece of our economic recovery.”

Romney asked the crowd to each find a voter who supported Obama in 2008 and get them to vote for his campaign in 2012 and help “take America in a new direction.”


Audio clips:

Gov. Romney says voters have two clear paths on election day:

102412Romney1 :19 the budget instead.”

Romney says he will make small business the centerpiece of an economic recovery:

102412Romney2 :14 our economic recovery.”


Nevada Casinos Report Modest Decline In August Revenue Report

By Sean Whaley | 12:58 pm October 10th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada casinos raked in $859.2 million from gamblers in August, but it wasn’t enough to stave off a modest 3.1 percent revenue decline over August 2011, the state Gaming Control Board reported today.

Clark County was down 3.4 percent with $727 million in revenues, but the Strip was off only 1.2 percent with $490.9 million taken in on table games and slots.

Image courtesy of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Other Clark County markets saw bigger declines, including downtown Las Vegas, off 8.4 percent; North Las Vegas, down 13.1 percent; and the Boulder Strip, off 17.7 percent.

Washoe County saw a 5.1 percent increase with $68.1 million in revenues, but South Lake Tahoe was down 19.5 percent with $22 million in winnings.

The modest decline comes after a $1 billion, 17 percent gain in July.

The decline came as Las Vegas saw an increase in visitation in August, up 1.5 percent to 3.34 million visitors, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the state gaming agency, said a timing issue with slot machine revenue was a factor in the lackluster August report, which happens when a month ends on a weekend and some revenue is actually reported in a different month.

July 2012 slot win was inflated by 8.6 percent because July 2011 had the last weekend’s revenues roll into August, he said. As a result, August 2012 was down 7.8 percent in slot revenue compared to the higher revenue numbers reported in August 2011.

But the August report would have been much worse if it had not been for baccarat play on the Strip, Lawton said.

“Baccarat had a really strong month, being up $28 million, or 29 percent,” he said. “Volumes for baccarat were strong, up 29.6 percent or $237.6 million. So usually when we see a month like that where baccarat was so strong we expect to see a positive month. But then, like I said, there was some underlying issues with slot accounting that kind of came into play and that’s why the month wasn’t positive.”

The August Strip win would have been off by 9 percent, or $29.9 million, without the baccarat performance, Lawton said.

“Baccarat is really keeping the Strip’s head above water,” he said.

The metric on the Strip that is of concern is slot volume, which was down in August for a fifth consecutive month.

“And prior to these five declines we actually had experienced 11 increases in the prior 13 months,” Lawton said. “So, definitely seeing some loss of traction in that slot spend. And calendar year to date, slot volume on the Strip is down 1.8 percent.”

The recent declines suggest the Las Vegas mass market customer is not spending as much right now, he said.


Audio clips:

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, says baccarat play helped make August a better month than it would have been otherwise:

101012Lawton1 :24 month wasn’t positive.”

Lawton says recent declines in slot volume on the Strip are a concern:

101012Lawton2 :35 down 1.8 percent.”


Nevada Ranks 3rd Among States For Best Tax Climate For Business

By Sean Whaley | 9:39 am October 9th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada is one of the 10 best states for its business tax climate, while companies in states like New York, New Jersey, and California have a far less pleasant environment to deal with, according to a new report by the Tax Foundation.

“Even in our global economy, a state’s strongest and most immediate competition often comes from other states,” said Tax Foundation economist Scott Drenkard. “State lawmakers need to be aware of how their states’ business climates match up to their immediate neighbors and to other states in their region.”

Nevada ranked 3rd in the Tax Foundation report released today, unchanged from last year. Nevada scored less well in two of the five categories that make up the ranking, coming in 42nd for its sales tax index rate, which is considered high at a statewide 6.85 percent rate; and 41st for its unemployment insurance tax, which does not provide for many benefit exclusions like many states do.

Courtesy of the Tax Foundation.

The survey is a snapshot in time as of July 1, 2012, and so does not include any evaluation of a Texas-style margins tax being proposed by Nevada by the Nevada State Education Association. The association is now collecting signatures to take the measure to the Legislature in 2013, but it still faces a court challenge.

In a press briefing today to announce the results of the new edition, speakers make it clear that Nevada’s high score would be substantially worse with a margins, or gross receipts, tax.

Texas scored in the top 10 in the survey in spite of the margins tax, not because of it, Drenkard said.

“We penalize states heavily for having gross receipts taxes because they are very distortionary,” he said. “It’s similar to having a very poorly structured sales tax.”

The top ten states in the 2013 Index are Wyoming (#1), South Dakota (#2), Nevada (#3), Alaska (#4), Florida (#5), Washington (#6), New Hampshire (#7), Montana (#8), Texas (#9), and Utah (#10).

Many of the top ranking states do not have one or more of the major statewide taxes, such as a personal or corporate income tax or a sales tax. Wyoming, South Dakota and Nevada, for example, have no corporate or individual income tax; Alaska has no individual income or state-level sales tax; Florida has no individual income tax; and New Hampshire and Montana have no sales tax.

The 10 lowest ranked states in the 2013 Index are Maryland (#41), Iowa (#42), Wisconsin (#43), North Carolina (#44), Minnesota (#45), Rhode Island (#46), Vermont (#47), California (#48), New Jersey (#49), and New York (#50).

The State Business Tax Climate Index, now in its 9th edition, collects data on over a hundred tax provisions for each state and synthesizes them into a single score. The states are then compared against each other, so that each state’s ranking is relative to actual policies in place in other states around the country. A state’s ranking can rise or fall significantly based not just on its own actions, but on the changes or reforms made by other states.

The index enables business leaders, government policymakers, and taxpayers to make an apples-to-apples comparison of their state’s tax system. While some similar studies focus on the total amount residents pay in taxes each year, the index focuses on whether the state’s tax code itself enhances or harms the competitiveness of its business environment.

Despite moderate corporate taxes, New York scores at the bottom this year by having the worst individual income tax, the sixth-worst unemployment insurance taxes, and the sixth-worst property taxes. The states in the bottom 10 suffer from the same afflictions: complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates.

Maine saw the greatest improvement this year, vaulting them from 37th to 30th best overall, in part due to a repeal of their alternative minimum tax. Michigan also made a sizable leap of six places by replacing their cumbersome and distortionary gross receipts tax (the Michigan Business Tax) with a flat 6 percent corporate income tax. This improved their overall rank from 18th to 12th best, and their corporate sub-rank from 49th to 7th best.

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan research organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937.


Audio clip:

Tax Foundation economist Scott Drenkard says a margins tax in Nevada would worsen the state’s Top 10 ranking:

100912Drenkard :26 of Nevada substantially.”:



Democrats Continue To Out-register Republicans In September, Now Have 71K Voter Advantage

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 5:04 pm October 1st, 2012

CARSON CITY – Numbers released today by Secretary of State Ross Miller’s Elections Division show Democrats registered more than twice as many voters than Republicans in September as the deadline to participate in the Nov. 6 general election is now just over two weeks away.

Democrats registered 30,377 active voters, while Republicans registered 14,532 active voters in September, continuing a pattern dating back several months. Active registered nonpartisans increased by 15,240 during the same time period. Of the 1,187,238 active registered voters statewide, 41.6 percent (493,606) are Democrats, 35.6 percent (422,045) are Republicans, and 17 percent (202,181) are nonpartisans.

Photo by Tom Arthur via Wikimedia Commons.

In Washoe County, the split between the two major parties is only about 1 percent, with 87,391 Democrats registered through Sept. 30 compared to 89,776 registered Republicans, for a difference of 37.7 percent for Democrats to 38.7 percent for the GOP.

Online voter registration is now available in all Nevada counties, but the deadline for online registration is midnight, Saturday Oct. 6th. The deadline for registering by mail is also Saturday October 6th. The deadline for registering in person at your respective county clerk or registrar’s office is Oct. 16th. For more information about registering to vote online, visit


Deferred Action Program To Begin Accepting Applications Wednesday, 23,300 Potentially Eligible In Nevada

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 1:30 pm August 13th, 2012

CARSON CITYThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security will officially begin accepting applications Wednesday for “deferred action” from young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and who meet other specific requirements.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

There are an estimated 23,300 potential beneficiaries of the program in Nevada, with a large majority, 18,570, from Mexico, according to estimates from the Immigration Policy Center (IPC).

The IPC estimates there are approximately 1.4 million immigrants currently in the United States who might meet the requirements of the deferred action initiative, either now or when they are older.

The IPC is releasing an updated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: A Q&A Guide outlining the basic facts about the initiative, including eligibility requirements and important information on process and timing.

The IPC also recently released estimates on who is eligible and where they live in its fact sheet, “Who and Where the DREAMers Are: A Demographic Profile of Immigrants Who Might Benefit from the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action Initiative.” This analysis breaks down the population potentially eligible for deferred action by nationality and age at the national and state level, as well as the Congressional District level.

The report shows there are 11,630 potential beneficiaries in the 1st Congressional District in Nevada currently represented by Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. An estimated 7,300 beneficiaries aged 15- to 30-years-old are immediately eligible, with another 4,330 future beneficiaries now aged 5- to 14-years old.

There are 5,130 estimated beneficiaries in the 2nd Congressional District represented by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., with 3,390 eligible now and 1,740 eligible in the future.

There are 6,540 estimated beneficiaries in the 3rd Congressional District represented by Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., with 4,360 immediately eligible and 2,180 eligible in the future.

The action by the Obama Administration has become a campaign issue in the new 4th Congressional District in Nevada, with Republican candidate Danny Tarkanian calling it a ploy for Hispanic votes and state Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, supporting the action.

The Legal Action Center (LAC) has released a practice advisory analyzing DHS guidance regarding the eligibility criteria and application process for the initiative. It also offers strategic advice for attorneys representing individuals who may qualify for deferred action under this initiative. The LAC issued this advisory jointly with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on June 15 announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria, will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.

Napolitano said the deferred action program will offer the young immigrants two-year work permits and not deport them as a temporary measure until the country’s immigration policies could be changed with the adoption of the DREAM Act.

The IPC, established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Council. The IPC says its mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration.

Gaming Win Down Six Percent In Nevada In June, Difficult Comparisons Cited As Primary Cause

By Sean Whaley | 4:47 pm August 9th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada casinos took in $832.5 million in gaming revenue in June, a decline of 6 percent compared to the same month a year ago, the Gaming Control Board reported today.

The win was about $53 million less than June 2011 as casinos tried to build on the win in June 2011, which was up 16 percent over June 2010.

Special events around the state and increased visitor volume could not offset the difficult comp against the June 2011 gains, said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the control board.

It is the second consecutive month of revenue declines. Gaming revenues fell 10.1 percent in May.

The Las Vegas Strip was off 4.5 percent in June, bringing in $483.7 million compared to $506.7 million in June 2011. The comp for the Strip was even tougher, with June 2011 up 32.3 percent over June 2010, Lawton said.

Electric Daisy Carnival 2011. / Photo: Roman Fuchs via Wikimedia Commons.

The Las Vegas locals markets were hit in June as well, with North Las Vegas down 26.2 percent, Laughlin down 20.3 percent and downtown Las Vegas off 12.8 percent. One factor in these numbers was that June ended on a Saturday, meaning that slot revenue from the final weekend  of the month will be reported in July, he said.

A bright spot in the report was Washoe County, which saw gaming revenues increase by 7.3 percent in June to $66.8 million. Reno was up 9.4 percent to $50 million.

Nevada had a number of events and developments that brought in tourists around the state, Lawton said.

There was a Manny Pacquiao fight against Timothy Bradley on June 9 at the MGM Grand, a baccarat tournament at the Bellagio on June 16 and 17, the Electric Daisy Carnival musical festival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway from June 8 to 10 and the new terminal at McCarran International Airport opened on June 27. In Northern Nevada, a Don Henley concert June 28 and a U.S. Women’s Open bowling event from June 21 to June 27 took place.

“You’ll see that Reno’s visitation was up 3.4 percent for the month of June,” Lawton said. “That’s the first increase they’ve had in a few months so those were definitely good events.”

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported today that tourism was up in Las Vegas in June as well, with 3.39 million visitors for a 2.1 percent increase over June 2011.

Another tough comp in June was the game and table win statewide, which totaled $325.3 million. It was almost flat, down $3 million over June 2011. Game and table win in June 2011 was up 55.2 percent over June 2010.

The baccarat win totaled $103.1 million, down 3.8 percent over June 2011. The volume wagered on the game was up significantly over June 2011, but the casinos did not win as much from gamblers, Lawton said. The “hold” by casinos in June was 12.4 percent compared to a 15.6 percent in June 2011.

“The good sign there is that the play was definitely there,” he said. “We just didn’t hold as well as we did last June.”

The final six months of the calendar year show easier comps and so could produce better results in monthly revenues, Lawton said.


Audio clips:

Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the control board, says the story of the June report was the difficult comps from June 2011:

080912Lawton1 :12 so basically flat.”

Lawton says Reno visitor volume was up in June in part because of strong events:

080912Lawton2 :11 definitely good events.”

Lawton says baccarat volume was up but the casinos did not win as much from gamblers in June:

080912Lawton3 :10 we normally see.”


AARP Poll Of Nevadans Aged 50+ Shows Election Concerns Include Medicare, Social Security, Not Just Jobs, Economy

By Sean Whaley | 11:48 am August 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – It’s not just jobs and the economy but the future of Social Security and Medicare that concerns Nevadans aged 50 and older in this 2012 presidential election year, according to a new poll commissioned by the AARP and released today.

The survey includes responses from Nevadans aged 50 and older, as well as results for a subgroup of those aged 50 to 64 who are still working.

Working baby boomer voters in Nevada are pessimistic about retirement, the poll results show. Of this group, 67 percent believe they will have to delay retirement and 32 percent are not confident they will ever be able to retire. Sixty-eight percent of working boomers believe the recent economic downturn will force them to rely more on Social Security and Medicare.

A large majority of Nevada voters age 50 and older want the candidates to better explain their plans for Social Security and Medicare to help them decide who they will support in November, the poll results show.

“While concerns about access to living wage jobs in a struggling economy is certainly important to most Nevadans, voters age 50-plus are most concerned about reforming/strengthening Social Security, reducing the budget deficit and reforming/strengthening Medicare,” said Maria Dent, AARP Nevada spokeswoman. “Any meaningful discussion of the economy during this year’s election has to include real plans about the future of Social Security and Medicare. For older voters, ‘retirement security’ and ‘economic security’ is largely the same thing.”

AARP commissioned Hart Research Associates and GS Strategy Group to conduct a series of surveys of registered voters aged 18 and over, which were conducted by telephone July 10 to16. The national survey included 1,852 registered voters.

The survey also focused on Nevada, where 408 voters aged 50 and older were polled. The Nevada results have a margin of error of plus/minus 4.9 percentage points.

Nevada is one of several battleground states expected to play a major role in the presidential race.

The surveys looked at five other battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as African Americans and Hispanics aged 50 and older.

The poll results show Nevada voters aged 50 and over are tied in their preference for president, with 46 percent each for President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney and 8 percent not sure.

In the Nevada Senate race between Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., Heller has a slight edge of 33 percent to 31 percent with 13 percent leaning to Heller, 11 percent leaning to Berkley and 12 percent not sure.

The results also show 51 percent of those surveyed disapproved of President Obama’s job performance, with 43 percent in support and 6 percent not sure. The job approval rating was much lower for Congress, with 84 percent disapproving, 8 percent approving and 8 percent not sure.

The concerns of Nevada voters 50 and older highlight the importance of Social Security and Medicare as election issues. They think the next president and Congress need to strengthen Social Security (94 percent) and Medicare (93 percent). They also overwhelmingly (93 percent) think that these issues are too big for either party to fix alone and require Republicans and Democrats to come together.

Voters 50+ in Nevada are looking to the candidates for more information on these key issues.  These voters think the candidates have not done a good job of explaining their plans on Social Security (74 percent) and Medicare (66 percent).

“The message from voters 50+ is clear,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president, state and national group. “In a razor-tight election, candidates have a major opportunity to reach key voters by speaking about their plans on Social Security and Medicare – and they are making a huge gamble if they ignore them.”

Earlier this year, AARP launched You’ve Earned a Say, a national conversation to ensure that Americans have a say in the future of Social Security and Medicare. To date, more than 2.1 million Americans have engaged with You’ve Earned a Say to share their thoughts about how best to protect and strengthen health and retirement security for today’s seniors and future generations.

In Nevada, the You’ve Earned a Say road tour kicked off at Lake Tahoe’s Hot August Nights the first weekend of August. AARP Nevada will also be hosting events and thought leader forums in northern Nevada during a three-day tour of northern Nevada – stopping in Reno, Carson, Fernley, Fallon and Silver Springs. A tour of southern Nevada is being planned for October.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates.

Federal Agency Says States Can Expand, Later Reduce Medicaid Under ACA

By Sean Whaley | 12:26 pm August 7th, 2012

CARSON CITY – States do not face any deadline for deciding whether to expand their Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and will be able to expand coverage and then later chose to reduce it, federal officials told Governing magazine on Monday.

Cindy Mann, deputy director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, made the comments at a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting in Chicago.

Photo by Debora Cartagena/CDC.

The article by Dylan Scott with Governing magazine also had comments from a CMS spokesperson confirming that states can chose to expand eligibility and later choose to reduce it, the first public confirmation that CMS will make such an option available.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is still assessing whether to expand Nevada’s Medicaid eligibility as a result of the June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding most of the federal health care law. The court struck down the provision allowing the federal government to penalize states if they did not opt into the Medicaid expansion.

The optional expansion to cover those at 133 percent of the poverty level is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Sandoval’s initial comment was that the state could not afford to undertake any expansion under the law. But he is awaiting additional information and clarification from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services before deciding how to proceed.

Federal funding will pay for 100 percent of any Medicaid expansion for the first three calendar years beginning in 2014, with the state required to pick up a percentage of the cost beginning in 2017. The first year state cost is 5 percent, in 2018 the state cost is 6 percent, in 2019 the state cost is 7 percent, and in 2020, the state cost is 10 percent.

The expansion in Nevada would mostly cover childless adults, who are not covered by the state program now. The other expansion will come from parent caretakers of children who are covered at 75 percent of poverty now, according to Mike Willden, director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

Willden said last month there are also administrative costs to the state that are not fully covered by the expansion but instead are shared between the federal government and the state at a 50-50 match. They include information technology costs and the cost to hire new eligibility workers, for example, he said.

Willden said in May  that as many as 150,000 additional Nevadans would be eligible for Medicaid if the law was upheld by the court, but that estimate was two years old and was made before the court said states could opt out of the expansion.

He estimated that bringing new residents onto the rolls would cost the state general fund an estimated $574 million between now and 2020.

But only $63 million of that cost estimate was due to the Medicaid expansion. The rest was due to those Nevadans who are already eligible for Medicaid but who have not enrolled. This population is expected to enroll in the program as a result of the mandate to obtain insurance.


Nevada Posts Double-Digit Gain In Taxable Sales In May, 23rd Consecutive Month Of Increases

By Sean Whaley | 3:02 pm July 27th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada taxable sales jumped by double-digits in May, with consumers purchasing $3.7 billion in goods for a 10.4 percent increase over May 2011, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

Clark County taxable sales were up 10 percent, while Washoe County saw a 4.9 percent gain.

Photo by Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

All major taxable sales categories were up in May over May 2011.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the broad increases across all major categories, from vehicles to general merchandise, is especially noteworthy.

“Things are starting to look good,” he said. “Obviously unemployment is still going to be a huge indicator on where people have disposable income, where consumer confidence is going, and the numbers would appear that people are reasonable in making purchases and feel like it.”

The largest increases were seen in the categories of Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealers, up 20.8 percent; food services and drinking places, up 7.8 percent, merchant wholesalers – durable goods, up 13.7 percent; machinery manufacturing, up 84.9 percent; and clothing and clothing accessories, up 8.9 percent.

Other categories showing increases included the construction industry, up 6.8 percent; general merchandise stores, up 6.2 percent; food and beverage stores, up 11.2 percent; furniture and home furnishings, up 3.5 percent; and accommodations, up 87.9 percent.

Fifteen of Nevada’s seventeen counties recorded an increase in taxable sales for May 2012 compared to May 2011, with only Lincoln and Lyon counties reporting a decrease.

It was the 23rd consecutive month of increases in taxable sales.

The sales taxes collected from the consumer activity are now about $34.5 million more for the 2012 fiscal year through May than what was projected by the Economic Forum.

Wachter said the upcoming back-to-school shopping season will provide further guidance on how Nevada’s economy will perform through the fall and holiday shopping season.


Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, says Nevada unemployment will play an important role in consumer confidence but the May numbers are great:

072712Wachter1 :22 these are great.”

Wachter says the upcoming back-to-school shopping season should be a good indicator of Nevada’s economic health for the remainder of the year:

072712Wachter2 :11 make some improvements.”





Broader Measure Of Unemployment Shows Continued Improvement In Nevada But Still Above 20 Percent

By Sean Whaley | 12:28 pm July 27th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A broader measure of Nevada’s unemployment picture, including those who have given up looking for work, showed slight but continued improvement through the second quarter of 2012, a federal report released today shows.

Called the U-6 rate, it declined in Nevada from 22.3 percent in the four quarters through March 31 to 22.1 percent in the 12 months ending June 30, according to the quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Photo by FEMA via Wikimedia Commons.

Nationally, the U-6 unemployment rate is 15.3 percent, down from 15.6 percent through the first quarter of 2012. The only other state above 20 percent is California, with a rate of 20.3 percent. North Dakota has the lowest rate at 6.1 percent.

The U-6 rate is sometimes referred to as the “actual” jobless rate because it includes discouraged workers and those working part-time who would like to be in full-time jobs.

Nevada’s U-6 rate compares to the June seasonally adjusted rate of 11.6 percent, which held steady from May. The June rate, considered to be the official unemployment rate, was reported last week by the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

Nevada leads the nation in both measures of unemployment.

Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR, said the good news for Nevada is that the unemployment rate is showing some “very modest” improvement.

“I think over time we will see the unemployment rate edge down,” he said. “There is going to be some good months, some bad months, but overall the trend is slightly downward.

“The same for the employment side of the equation, the more important employment side of the equation,” Anderson said. “Some good months, some bad months, but overall I think the positives will outweigh the negatives. But it is only going to translate into modest job growth.”

Prior to the recession Nevada was adding 60,000 jobs a year and the state was growing at four times the national labor market, he said. The current trend is about 15,000 jobs a year, Anderson said.

The official June jobless report noted that for the first half of the year, 14,000 jobs have been added in Nevada’s private sector establishments. This is on top of approximately 12,000 new jobs in 2011.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has made job creation a priority of his administration, and is pushing forward with an economic development plan to help create 50,000 new jobs in Nevada by the end of 2014.

In commenting last week on the June report, Sandoval said: “I am encouraged by the fact that this is the 12th straight month of positive news, but we must continue working to support job growth by bringing new business to Nevada and allowing existing businesses to be successful.”

Nevada’s official jobless rate peaked at 14 percent in October 2010. The U-6 rate in Nevada for the 12 months of 2010 was 23.6 percent.

Anderson said: “We’ve got a long way to go until we get to the 4 percent rate that we were at essentially prior to the last recession. But nonetheless the news of late has been better than it was a year or two ago.”

The Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States shows six different jobless rates using different measures. The U-6 rate includes discouraged workers, defined as people who want work but who had not searched for work in the previous four weeks because they believed no jobs were available to them. It also includes “marginally attached” workers, defined as those who had not looked for work in the previous four weeks for any reason.

Finally the measure includes those employed part-time for economic reasons, defined as those working less than 35 hours per week who want to work full time, are available to do so, and gave an economic reason – their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job – for working part time. These individuals are sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that this broader definition of unemployment is based on relatively small sample sizes at the state level.


Audio clips:

Bill Anderson, chief economist for DETR, says the trend for unemployment in Nevada is modest improvement:

072712Anderson1 :25 is slightly downward.”

Anderson says the same is expected for job growth in Nevada:

072712Anderson3 :21 modest job growth.”