Nevadan taxpayers may be surprised to learn that a last-minute $58.5 omnibus spending bill (see below) allocates their tax dollars to fund a variety of nonprofits, many of which have strong ties to organized labor and the Nevada State Democratic Party.
The Globe was informed that lawmakers only had five minutes to review the bill prior to bipartisan passage in the Assembly, with only three Republican’s voting against the bill.
Assembly Bill 525 makes appropriations for “various purposes relating to the health, education, employment and other community services.” “Community services” was added to the bill through an amendment and lists dozens of community organizations slated to receive millions in taxpayer funds.
The constitutionality of these appropriations are relatively sound, but these nonprofit appropriations reek of partisan paybacks and payouts.
If the bill is signed by Governor Lombardo, taxpayers will be on the hook to fund, in part, the following nonprofit organizations:
- $15 million to the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas for a “capital improvement plan.”
According to their website, the Academy “provides provide training for entry-level and union workers in the Las Vegas hospitality industry. As a labor-management trust, CALV has invaluable partnerships with the Culinary Union Local 226, Bartenders Union Local 165, and 37 major properties on the Las Vegas Strip.”
Among the various union leaders and activists who are Trustees of the Academy is President of Culinary Union Local 226, Diana Valles, pictured here endorsing and promoting a slate of State Democrats.
With record gambling revenues on the Strip exceeding billions of dollars, one could question why any or all of the 37 major properties on the Las Vegas Strip aren’t pitching in $15 million to assist this nonprofit instead of relying on taxpayer funds for a “capital improvement plan.”
- $5.5 million for a nonprofit corporation formed to establish an art museum in Las Vegas.
As details of this nonprofit were not included in the legislation, we cannot provide specifics. However, in 2019, legislators approved $5 million for an art museum in Las Vegas.
According to a report by The Nevada Independent:
In 2017, then-Sen. Tick Segerblom proposed a bill, SB187, that would provide $1 million in seed money for the expansion project into Las Vegas. During the 2019 session, lawmakers proposed another bill, SB533, that would allocate $5 million dollars more of state funding.
Both bills passed with overwhelming support, and private donors have matched the state contributions, but regional tensions have complicated the project.
Although the museum is planning to start from scratch in Las Vegas, it spent more than half of the original funds allocated on expanding its venue in Reno.
- $4.5 million to to the Community Health Alliance for another “capital improvement project.”
The CEO of the Alliance is former Reno City Councilman and Democratic activist, Oscar Delgado. The Treasurer, Laura Martinez, is an organizer for the Nevada State Democratic Party and a former lead for Mi Familia Vota who was “responsible for managing daily canvassing operations for various voter registration, GOTV and ballot initiative campaigns.”
- $2 million to the Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow (FIT) for activities related to vocational training, job preparation, education and employment services.
According to the founder and CEO’s bio, Janet Fraiser Blumen (registered Democrat) ironically notes that “nearly 4,200 unemployed and underemployed Nevadans have found jobs that pay enough to make them able to support a family without public assistance.” (emphasis added)
An amendment to AB525, further excludes Blumen’s nonprofit from providing a report or itemized account of expenses of the $2 million allocation and auditing language has also been removed. She is only one of two nonprofits mentioned for these exemptions.
- $500,000 to the United Labor agency (ULAN), a nonprofit affiliated with the Nevada AFL-CIO for providing “community services.” ULAN is directed by a volunteer Board of Trustees comprised of members of organized labor and the community. ULAN partners with The United Way Foundation.
According to their mission, they “improve the quality of life for workers and their families and the community at large by providing direct services and access to services to meet their immediate needs and to engage and empower members of organized labor to improve the community as a more responsive place to live, work, raise a family and to retire.”
One way to engage workers and empower members to improve the community is through community services that ensure certain candidates receive the help they need (ballot harvesting, ballot curing, door knocking) to win elections and remain in power.
The United Way of Northern Nevada is slated to receive $1.2 million and is the second organization that is exempt from providing a report or an accounting of expenses related to this allocation and auditing language has also been removed through an amendment.
Should this bill be signed into law, Nevada taxpayers will be forced to subsidize charities with strong ties and allegiances to the Democratic party and sets a reckless five-minute precedent in awarding $58.5 million to an expanded array of nonprofits.
The Globe has emailed the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Democratic Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (AD-1) seeking specifics related to the aforementioned “capital improvement plans” and the amended language which excludes two organizations from financial reports and audits. We will provide an update if and when a response is received.
The Globe will continue to provide updates to this legislation as it works its way to the Governor’s desk.AB525_R1
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