(Chuck Muth) – In “Outlaw Josey Wales,” Clint Eastwood played the title role as a man being hunted by lawless Union troops after the Civil War. He and his sidekick, Jamie, kept getting away every time the Yankees thought they were cornered.
After dodging yet another capture, Jamie remarked to Wales, “Whooped ‘em again, Josey.”
Which is exactly what Nevada Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo did to legislative Democrats late yesterday afternoon. Here’s the latest rabbit he pulled out of the hat…
Opportunity Scholarships are privately funded scholarships for low-income, mostly minority children so they can escape Nevada’s failure factory government schools and attend the school of their choice.
The scholarships are funded by corporate donations, in return for which the companies get a tax credit from their payroll taxes – just like you get on your federal income tax for making charitable contributions to non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross or American Heart Association.
The program was launched in 2015 and the cap on donations that would be tax credit-eligible was $5 million – with a built-in annual increase of 10%.
Democrats have been trying to starve the program to death ever since.
Once they got back into the majority in the Legislature in 2016 – and after Democrat Gov. Sisolak was elected in 2018 – they killed the automatic increases and froze the cap.
At the start of this year’s session, Gov. Lombardo proposed increasing the funding cap to $25 million per year and called for the return of the automatic increases.
Democrats told him to kiss their arse.
Throughout the session, Democrats stonewalled the governor’s proposal, refusing to even hold hearings on it. And not only did they refuse to boost the cap, they cut the current funding from around $11.4 million to $6.6 million.
And when they cut funding from $11.4 million to $6.6 million, hundreds of kids were at risk of losing their scholarships and being forced back into a failing public school.
With Democrats perfectly content to screw those hundreds of kids out of a better education, Lombardo came up with a plan to restore some of the money the Democrats cut from the program by using $3.2 million in unspent COVID relief funds to make up the difference.
Not a dime of that money would come out of the public school budget. Nevertheless, the heartless Democrats on the Interim Finance Committee rejected the proposal on Wednesday, resulting in some 600 low-income, mostly minority children getting kicked out of the schools of their choice.
But late Friday afternoon, Lombardo – whose mantra is “Get sh*t done!” – announced that he’d come up with yet another way to save those kids. Here’s what happened…
The scholarships are awarded by six Scholarship Grant Organizations (SGO).
The SGO’s apply for the limited number of tax credits and then award them to eligible families. But because it was well-known the Democrats have been trying to drive a stake through the program’s heart for years, there were two ways to handle the funds.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll explain it generally like this…
Let’s say the average grant is $5,000 and the SGO received $100,000 in grant funding for high school students. That meant they could go two different ways…
1.) They could give out 20 grants of $5,000 each for one school year, or…
2.) They could give out 5 grants of $5,000 for a total of $25,000 and “bank” the remaining $75,000 so that those 5 kids would be assured funding for the full four years of high school in case the Democrats killed the program.
Some of the SGO’s immediately gave out all their money to as many kids as possible, hoping the Legislature would continue funding the program so no kids would lose their scholarships in the future and be able to stay in the school of their choice after the first year.
Others socked away their money in a sort of “rainy day fund” to make sure their scholarship recipients would be protected for multiple years of their education and not just one year.
After Democrats killed the governor’s no-brainer funding proposal to use the COVID money to keep kids from getting kicked out of their schools on Wednesday, it looked like the end of the line. However…
Gov. Lombardo worked with one of the SGO’s – AAA Scholarship Foundation – which agreed to use money from their reserve account to make up the $3.2 million difference so no kid would be forced out of their school and into a public school this school year.
Whooped ‘em again, Joey!
But make no mistake. This is just a temporary fix.
Obviously, the saving account money AAA had set aside for its own kids will now have to be replaced down the road – or some of THEIR kids will eventually lose THEIR scholarships and be kicked out of the schools of THEIR choice.
Gov. Lombardo and AAA Scholarship Foundation have stopped the bleeding. But the wound will re-open again next year. What the governor has done is buy some time to find a permanent solution without any kids currently in the program getting the shaft.
And the only way a permanent fix will be approved in the Legislature is if Nevada voters elect either more Republicans or better Democrats. Or both.
Yes, conservatives will be looking at beating incumbent legislative Democrats in next year’s elections. But most of the incumbents’ seats are “safe.” The odds of a Republican winning are slim to none.
So conservatives also need to be looking for “Lombardo Democrats” to support in Democrat primary races in the 2024 election cycle. That’s something conservatives have only rarely done in past elections. But it’s time to do so now.
School choice needs to be a top issue, not only in races pitting a Republican candidate against a Democrat incumbent, but in Democrat primaries featuring a pro-school choice Democrat against an anti-school choice Democrat.
Do it “for the children.”
One last note: As bad as the Democrats are on this issue, they’re not the worst player in this travesty.
The sole reason Democrats have their heels dug in on killing any and all school choice options is that’s what the teacher’s union wants.
The union doesn’t give a damn about kids.
It only cares about its dues-paying members and political power.
The Democrats are the governor’s political opponents.
The teachers’ union is an enemy of the people.
And it’s WAY past time to go scorched earth on them. Lock and load.
7 Worst Habits of Highly Unelectable People
- Picking the wrong race
- Picking the wrong district
- Picking the wrong issues
- Picking the wrong time
- Picking the wrong consultants
- Picking unnecessary fights with the media
- Picking door-knocking over fundraising
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“At my request, AAA Scholarship Foundation has volunteered to utilize reserve funds to ensure that no students lose access to their scholarships this year. I’m grateful for their eagerness to create a short-term solution. We have to keep fighting for our kids.” – Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo
“Governor Joe Lombardo promised to get the funding for this program and he came through.” – ABC News13
“After Democrats voted to defund opportunity scholarships for hundreds of low income children, Governor Lombardo came through with a solution.” – Better Nevada PAC
“When Governor @JosephMLombardo says he’s going to get something done, he gets it done. Full stop.” – Elizabeth Ray
“We are so grateful to Gov. Lombardo for rapidly correcting this situation and not giving up. Remember-these are reserve funds they are using, so we must continue to fight for the Opportunity Scholarship Program. It’s amazing to have a Governor who truly cares.” – Power2Parent Union
“Democrats don’t hate Opportunity Scholarships because they don’t work … Democrats hate Opportunity Scholarships precisely because they do work.” – Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks, who seems to have finally figured out who the real villain is in this fight
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views, and founder of CampaignDoctor.com. You can sign up for his conservative, Nevada-focused e-newsletter at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.