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Robert Lang, executive director, Brookings  Mountain West, February 16, 2017

Apex Industrial Park Offers Promise To Diversify Economy, Experts Say

The 18,000-acre Apex Industrial Park at the far north end of the Las Vegas Valley could be a catalyst for diversifying Southern Nevada’s economy.

So says a report by a group of real estate professionals brought together by Urban Land Institute Nevada, the local chapter of an international organization that studies urban planning and development issues.

The study calls Apex “the largest industrial and manufacturing location available and accessible to California and the Southwest markets.”

It cites access to transportation and Southern Nevada’s relatively low tax burden as strengths of the North Las Vegas industrial park. Areas of concern include a workforce lacking in appropriate training, a challenged educational system, and a shortage of nearby housing.

The study was commissioned by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, a public-private agency that promotes economic development in Southern Nevada.

John Hudak, senior fellow, Brookings Institution and Robert Lang, executive director, Brookings Mountain West, January 23, 2017

Nevada, West Coast Face Risk Should China Relations Sour

Nevada could be hurt by the more confrontational approach to China promised by the Trump administration, but the state could benefit by increases in infrastructure spending, according to a pair of Brookings Institution scholars.

John Hudak, deputy director of Brookings’ Center for Effective Public Management, and Robert Lang of Brookings Mountain West at UNLV, said the West Coast would feel the effects of any trade war because of the area’s strong economic ties to China.

Nevada’s trade and tourism relationship with China, which includes billions of dollars invested in Macau by Las Vegas-based gaming companies, puts it at particular risk, Lang said.

However, the increased infrastructure spending promised by President Donald Trump might boost prospects for construction of Interstate 11, which is planned to run from Phoenix to Las Vegas to points north. Trump praised the I-11 proposal during the campaign.

Lang and Hudak will discuss what the new direction in Washington will mean to Nevada on Tuesday at the Preview Las Vegas forum put in by the Metro Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Nevada Public Radio is one of many sponsors of the event.

John Hudak, senior fellow, Brookings Institution, December 13, 2017

Uncertainty Looms For Marijuana Industry

Marijuana advocates in the state got to breathe a sigh of relief on Election Day, but the respite was short-lived. Donald Trump was elected president, and the person he wants to put in charge of the Justice Department has made his views very clear. U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions has publicly decried the use of marijuana, even saying that "good people don't smoke marijuana" on the Senate floor in April. Nevada was one of eight states which voted to legalize recreational marijuana.

With marijuana businesses trying to prepare for legalized recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, they may also have to worry about a federal crackdown. John Hudak, with the Brookings Institution, has focused his research on state and federal marijuana policy. He joins KNPR to talk about what the new administration and Sessions could potentially do to the industry.

Robert Lang, executive director, Brookings Mountain West, November 16, 2016

Fuel Tax Measure Approval Assures Transportation Project Funding

Clark County voters opted for more construction cones and road projects last week by approving a ballot measure that pegs the Clark County fuel tax to inflation. By a 56 percent to 44 percent margin, voters kept in place for the next decade a fuel tax rate that rises with cost of living. The passage of Question 5 was part of a trend that saw approval of more than 70 percent of the transit measures that were on the ballot across the country. In Southern Nevada, approval of fuel tax indexing assures funding for nearly 200 road projects that might not have happened had inflation eroded the buying power of the tax revenues.

The head of the Regional Transportation Commission, Tina Quigley, told KNPR's State of Nevada that the money can only be used for infrastructure for automobiles. The projects the money will fund will be focused on improving safety, alleviating congestion, speeding up maintenance and increasing connectivity. One of the first big projects to alleviate congestion will be to expand the 215 Beltway between Pecos Road and Windmill Lane. A project designed to increase connectivity will be completion of the Centennial Bowl in the valley's northwest side. Quigley said all of the work over the next few years will be coordinated through the Regional Project Coordination Committee, which brings together different agencies from the water authority to reclamation to developers to make sure construction projects are coordinated so drivers don't have to battle construction zone after construction zone.

Robert Lang, executive director, Brookings Mountain West, October 17, 2016

Sandoval Poised To Sign Legislation Funding Stadium, Convention Center

Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 1 Monday authorizing a $750 million tax subsidy for the $1.9 billion domed stadium planned to help bring the NFL to Las Vegas.

During last week’s special legislative session, the measure won bipartisan, supermajority approval that came amid concerns that the state was putting wants before needs.

Lawmakers took on a 30-year obligation by raising the hotel room tax in Las Vegas to finance the stadium and the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Construction of the projects is projected to provide a $4 billion-plus boost to the Southern Nevada economy and strengthen the convention and tourism industries for the long term.

Robert Lang, executive director, Brookings Mountain West, September 20, 2016

NFL Stadium: A Good Deal Or A Sucker Bet?

KNPR's State of Nevada is taking a closer look at the $1.9 billion plan for an NFL stadium in Las Vegas. You've heard what casino owners, business leaders and some politicians think about the idea.

Last week, a committee with many of those people recommended this mix of money to pay for the stadium: $750 million in room taxes, $650 million from billionaire Sheldon Adelson; and $500 million from the Oakland Raiders and the NFL.

And competing polls have since been released. A Rasmussen poll found more than 50 percent of those polled are against public funding for the stadium. Another poll by WPA Research found voters by a two-to-one margin supported taxpayer funding for a stadium.

Do Clark County residents really want the stadium built? If it's built, will they vote for or against politicians who support it? Will any of the benefit reaped by developers and the Oakland Raiders trickle down to county residents.

And does Clark County need a stadium to maintain its edge in its number one industry, the service economy?

Robert Lang was one guest expert on this program.

Robert Lang with Brookings Mountain West
Is it magic that Las Vegas will benefit from the stadium when other cities have not?

"It’s not magic. Think about this intuitively for a moment. If you think about a stadium in Phoenix, Arizona and when they built the stadium in Glendale, the majority of people in attendance in a stadium in Phoenix… are residents of the region. Therefore the stadium is just a place for the consumption of the internal region product… If you have a stadium – and we see this in our live entertainment sector – the majority of our live entertainment sector is not directed at the residents of the region. The majority of our $150 million a year… live entertainment sector that is mostly generated from tourism."

"Once you get them in the city what can you do with them. You can cross sell this city better than anywhere else. When you get someone into Orlando, they’re basically in chain hotels and formula restaurants. You get somebody in key game like a PAC 12 championship and you’ve got the rich alumni of Stanford and USC parked in our city and consuming – my God! What else can we sell them?"

"We’ve never had a problem building big buildings, charging people to get in and then programming what goes on in the big buildings. That is pretty much what we do."

Robert Lang, executive director, Brookings Mountain West, June 15, 2016

Las Vegas: Hockey Town USA

Las Vegas can now boast that it's a big league town — almost.

According to multiple media reports, the only thing standing in the way of a National Hockey League expansion team finding a home at the T-Mobile Arena is formal approval from the league’s board of governors and payment of a $500 million expansion fee.

Businessman and prospective team owner Bill Foley has gathered season ticket deposits from 14,000 people and hasn’t flinched at the league’s hefty entry fee. He has also promised to build a $17 million practice facility in Summerlin and make it available to the public when not in use by the team. Today we’ll discuss the impact on Southern Nevada’s economy, the Las Vegas sports scene, and the gaming industry.

Robert Lang, the director of Brookings Mountain West, said he is excited about having a big league sports team in Las Vegas for several reasons. One of the biggest reasons is it changes how the city is perceived. "It changes the view on Las Vegas this way: There was an assumption that perhaps Las Vegas, because of its core industry that included sports book, was excluded from the family of cities that had big league sports due to that industry alone. Well, that's now false," he said.

He said Las Vegas is now just another big city with an exceptionally good market because besides the 2 million people who live here, there are 40 million people who visit here every year.

Elizabeth Kneebone, fellow, Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program, March 2, 2016

The Las Vegas suburbs aren’t the middle-class havens many imagine them to be. In our post-recession world, thousands of suburban residents remain underwater on their homes.

Wages are rising, but not as fast as they did more than a decade ago. And some residents work two jobs just to make ends meet.

All these factors add up to a rising suburban poverty rate.

Elizabeth Kneebone told KNPR’s State of Nevada that poverty has always been a part of the landscape in the suburbs but as the numbers grew people started to notice.

"In the 2000s in particular, we saw a really rapid rise in suburban poverty that I think caught a lot more attention and rose to the national consciousness more than it had in the past,” she said. “In fact, as a nation we passed a tipping point in the 2000s, where there were actually more poor people living in suburbs than in the big cities of our major metro areas."

She said poverty in the suburbs came about for a lot of reasons. Kneebone said people already in poverty moved out to find more affordable housing, better schools and safer communities. But she said the largest portion of the trend is those already living in the suburbs slipping into poverty in large part because of the Great Recession.

Beth Akers, fellow, Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families, and the Brown Center on Education Policy, March 2, 2016

Here is your amazing statistic of the week: The accumulated total of student loan debt in the United States has hit $1.3 trillion. Of that, $1.1 trillion is federal loan debt and a further $200 billion is made up of private loans. That’s the greatest amount of student debt in U.S. history.So, why are UNLV and students nationwide graduating with more debt? What are the economic effects of student loan debt? And, how do we make college more affordable?

Beth Akers, a fellow with the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., was at UNLV to discuss the issue. Before, Akers lecture titled "Reconciling the Rhetoric and Reality of Student Loan Debt," she stopped by KNPR's State of Nevada.

Ron Haskins, senior fellow, Economic Studies, Brookings Institution, January 27, 2016
Brookings: Nevadans Need To Gain More Skills For Higher Paying Jobs

Improving opportunities for Las Vegas’ unskilled labor market is key to our region’s goal of achieving a more diverse economy. But employment today is failing to achieve the promise it did a few decades ago. Wages of unskilled workers – especially among men – have been stagnant. They have actually fallen relative to those of more educated-workers. And some groups – like less educated men generally and black men, specifically – are working less.

So, we were curious, what impact do these trends have on Las Vegas?

Ron Haskins, among his many titles, is a senior fellow of economic studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

He told KNPR’s State of Nevada it is a simple equation in the current economy.

“You do have to have skills beyond high school, if you’re going to do well in our society,” Haskins said. There was a time when a person could get a good paying job with just the skills learned in high school, but Haskins said that is not the case anymore. And he said that lack of education and training is impacting low-income families more. “This is one of the most important problems in the country,” Haskins said, “The gap in education between kids who are disadvantaged from low-income families, roughly speaking, and the education of kids who are from wealthier families has been growing and growing and growing.”

Robert Lang, executive director, Brookings Mountain West, November 10, 2015
With Fanfare, Sandoval Announces Faraday Future's Arrival

Gov. Brian Sandoval announced Thursday morning that an electric car manufacturer had chosen North Las Vegas as the site of its production facility. "Today, I am pleased to announce the latest chapter in the Nevada story," he said.The company in question is Faraday Future, a California-based electric car start-up that hopes to have a vehicle to market by 2017. Sandoval praised state lawmakers and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, along with officials from Faraday Future, for getting the deal done. Robert Lang with the Brookings Mountain West, during an interview with KNPR's State of Nevada, also had high praise for Lee and his team. "North Las Vegas went and hustled this deal," Lang said. "North Las Vegas sought this deal out... The idea is that municipalities and localities and regions go out themselves and find their opportunity. Then, the state did its role." The governor said a special legislative session would be needed in order to ratify a series of incentives proposed for Faraday to the tune of $215 million. But, he balanced that by saying the total fiscal impact of Faraday's presence in Nevada was more than $750 million in tax revenue over the 20 years, and $85 billion in over all economic impact.

Robert Lang, executive director, Brookings Mountain West, November 10, 2015
Is Faraday The Future Of North Las Vegas?

Faraday Future – an electric car startup based in Southern California – has set its sights on Tesla. To catch up to its rival, Faraday plans to build a $1 billion factory. The company says Nevada, California, Georgia and Louisiana are all finalists for the factory. But, analysts believe North Las Vegas and its APEX Industrial Park is the front-runner. If true, that would immediately make Nevada a leading player in the electric car business. And, it would be a major coupe for North Las Vegas and its mayor, John Lee. But, who is Faraday? And why would they be interested in North Las Vegas? Los Angeles Times reporter Jerry Hirsch, who has written about Faraday, talked to KNPR’s State of Nevada about the company.

Robert Lang, Executive Director, Brookings Mountain West, November 4, 2015
Nevada's Universities Trail Even Mississippi Colleges

The north-south divide remains strong in Nevada. That has become evident after comments by Steve Maples, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Nevada, Reno, on this program. Earlier this week, Maples repeated the claim that UNR is a “Tier One” university and that its lofty academic status is attracting more out-of-state students. Here’s the catch: Robert Lange, of UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West, says UNR is not a Tier One school. And while UNR’s use of Western University Exchange, out-of-state students is being praised, similar efforts by UNLV years ago were criticized by state lawmakers as a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Robert Lang, Executive Director, Brookings Mountain West, October 15, 2015
While Governor 'Wills' Biz To Life In Reno, Las Vegas Gets Pennies

Governor Brian Sandoval cast himself as the voice of reason between northern and southern Nevada last week at the UNLV campus. About a year ago the governor got state politicians to fashion some billion dollars in tax breaks for electric car maker Tesla. Tesla will then build a $5 billion battery plant in Reno. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West, said the governor is essentially "willing" business into existence in northern Nevada. Meanwhile, the amount of government support southern Nevada gets is, by comparison, pennies.

Indeed, last week Sandoval flew to the UNLV campus to announce that Tesla would be granting $1 million to the university to study battery technology. That's spread over five years, or about $200,000 a year. Lang told KNPR's State of Nevada that he doesn't know much about the deal, but "it doesn't seem like much." Why so much government support for Reno-area business? Lang said it's because northern Nevada isn't a necessarily an inviting place for new businesses move. "Leveraging Las Vegas' assets may just be an easier lift in terms of the money," Lang explained.

Robert Lang, Executive Director, Brookings Mountain West, October 7, 2015
Changing Policy Reflects Changing Demographics In Nevada

The number of Hispanics in Nevada has more than doubled over the last 20 years, and Hispanics and Asians are expected to make up half of Las Vegas’ population within the next few years.

Nevada may now offer a glimpse into the future when it comes to the makeup of the overall population.The Census Bureau has predicted the country as a whole will be majority non-white by the year 2043. Nevada’s politics and policies are beginning to reflect this changing demographic. Governor Brian Sandoval’s tax increase to fund education, for example, includes money for Victory Schools and English as a Second Language studies. But is it really keeping up with the characteristics of Nevada's students? Policy is often slow to keep pace with social change, but now may be Nevada's opportunity to set the bar high.

Robert Lang, Director, Brookings Mountain West, June 5, 2015
Asian Population Grows, Transforms Las Vegas

When the mega resort project Resorts World fully opens in 2018, it will be the first hotel and casino property on the Strip that is specifically marketed toward Asian tourists. Indicative of the importance of Asian tourists to maintaining Las Vegas as a No. 1 tourist destination in the world, it’s not just the Strip that is reaping the benefits of having a large Asian population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nevada’s Asian population has more than doubled in size over the last 15 years - the only state to have such an increase. And in recent years, Asians overtook Hispanics as Nevada’s top immigrant group – almost doubling that of immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Sales receipts from Asian-owned businesses in the county have also skyrocketed, and could exceed $5 billion for the next round of census figures.

Jeremy Shapiro, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution, April 7, 2015
U.S. Military Intervention and the American Presidency

U.S. military intervention is the most visible and dramatic manifestation of American foreign policy. Even in a time of relative decline, U.S. military supremacy, and the willingness to use it, remains one of the most important pillar of U.S. power.

And the Obama administration has not shied away from using military force. It intervened in the civil war in Libya and has used drones in Yemen and Pakistan.

But, President Barack Obama has shied away from using troops in some circumstances. It seems as though the 'when' and 'how' the United States intervenes is changing.

So, have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq shaped the way President Obama thinks of using U.S. military force overseas?

Jeremy Shapiro, a senior fellow in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution, believes it has had an impact on the president’s thinking.

"If you look back to 2008, he ran on a platform that the Iraq war was a mistake and that it had been executed poorly, and poorly conceived,” Shapiro said. “He has been taken with that example in the sense that he believes that military intervention represents sort of a trap for a U.S. president."

Shapiro is in Las Vegas to deliver a lecture Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Brookings Mountain West called "U.S. military Intervention and the American President."

John Hudak, Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution, March 26, 2015
Getting Ready To Legalize Pot, Should Nevada Start Now?
Nevadans will vote on legalization of recreational marijuana next year.

Several states, including Colorado, have already legalized recreational use of marijuana, creating industries that are producing millions of dollars in tax revenues.

But, legalized pot, on the state level, continues to cause lawmakers and regulators to draft new laws and regulations to deal with problems that weren’t considered pre-pot legalization.

In Colorado, for example, where recreational marijuana has been legal for a year, a bill being considered in the House would create a state “reference library” to try to standardize marijuana tests.

Colorado requires marijuana to be tested for potency and contaminants but doesn’t have a way to make sure that state-licensed testing labs are coming up with the same results.

So what should Nevada due to prepare for legal pot? Analysts believe the initiative has a very good chance of passing when Nevada voters go to the polls in November 2016.

“Well, the polling that has been done on legalizing recreational marijuana suggests as much as 54 percent of Nevadans support such a law,” John Hudak, a governance studies fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., told KNPR’s State of Nevada.

Robert Lang, Director, Brookings Mountain West, March 4, 2015
Where Are The Future Jobs In Nevada?
A recent jobs report paints a positive picture for Nevada.

The state is benefitting from a low unemployment rate and the highest number of employers since 2008. What’s different seven years later, though, is the type of jobs. More than half of Southern Nevada’s job growth last year came in high-paying industries requiring knowledge in science, technology, engineering or math. There was also growth in education and health care jobs.

Is Las Vegas turning the corner? Gaming may always dominate our economy, but will this growth in other higher-tech, better-paying jobs continue?

Vanda Felbab-Brown, senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, February 11, 2015
Water Theft Is A Crime On The Rise
Scarcity of water is leading to more crimes connected to the limited resource. Nearly two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water, but a mere three percent is suitable for human consumption. Fresh water on our planet is limited. Drought, global warming and urban population growth have all contributed to its increasing scarcity. There’s an old saying that water is for fighting over. But maybe before the fight, there is crime.

The earth’s growing scarcity of water, according to a Brookings Institution senior fellow, is leading to an increase in water smuggling and other criminal activity. Water theft includes illegal acquisition of natural water courses as well as piped or harnessed water, bit of which are designated as non-revenue water. In other words, water that is “lost” before reaching its intended customer. Loss of water through theft can occur in several ways, including damaging or removing water meters and stealing aid tanks.

Vanda Felbab-Brown also blames water shortages on several factors including climate change and increasing urbanization. Felbab-Brown told KNPR’s State of Nevada that 30 to 50 percent of the water used in the world is purchased illegally. Felbab-Brown will deliver her lecture “Water Crimes: A Global Crisis on the Rise” at 5:30 p.m. at the Greenspun Hall Auditorium on the UNLV campus.

Pat Mulroy, Senior Fellow, Brookings Mountain West, October 13, 2014
Clark County To Receive Lion's Share Of Population Growth
Recent economic development in the state may bring nearly 35,000 more residents to Nevada over the next two decades than originally projected. State demographer Jeff Hardcastle said projects such as Tesla Motor Inc.'s $5 billion gigafactory to land in Reno will have a resounding impact. Hardcastle recently released his updated figures predicting that by 2032, Nevada will have 3.3 million residents. In September, Hardcastle released a draft of his projections, but several developments sent him back to recalculate those figures.

Those developments include Tesla’s battery factory, which is expected to employ 6,500 people, along with drone maker Ashima Devices moving its headquarters and 400 jobs to Reno. "Nevada was hit by three major economic factors on the last decade: the housing bubble, the spike in fuel prices and the financial crisis; yet we grew by 35 percent from 200 to 2010," Hardcastle said. "We are recovering and could end up growing by more than 290,000 from 2000 to 2020, which is roughly equal to the last year’s estimated population of Boulder City and Henderson."

Given Nevada’s current levels of employment and the potential for growth, Hardcastle says the 2014 projections are for statewide increases of 528,107 people over the next 20 years. Broken down by county, Clark County will experience the largest population increase at 328,379, followed by Washoe County with an increase of 147,422; and other northwest counties (Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties) could see population increase of 44,034.

The counties along Interstate 80 (Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander and Pershing counties) could see an increase of 5,854 people and the balance of the state (Esmeralda, Lincoln, Mineral, Nye and White Pine counties) could see an increase of 2,409 people.

Richard Reeves, Policy Director, Center on Children and Families, Brookings Institution, September 22, 2014
The Role Of Grit In Social Mobility
The American Dream has hit hard times. Researchers have found that it is harder to move from poverty to prosperity in the United States than it is in many European countries. That kind of social mobility is part of the American myth, and drives how we think of our country. So what can we do to revive the promise of social mobility? And how can anti-poverty programs promote grit among its poorest citizens? Richard Reeves studies social mobility and he will be speaking at UNLV as part of the Brookings Mountain West series.

Robert Lang, Director, Brookings Mountain West, September 15, 2014
Examining the Tesla Deal: Who Wins? Who Loses? And How Will it Change Nevada?
It's the biggest economic development deal in Nevada history. The state will grant $1.25 billion in incentives to Tesla Motors to build a $5 billion Gigafactory near Reno.

Critics of the deal have already pointed out that it will take money from the fledgling film production credit program. And other wonder whether state and local governments will ever recoup the tax breaks.

But lawmakers unanimously approved the deal. The factory could create up to 6,500 well-paid jobs that are badly needed in Northern Nevada. And they say that Tesla's presence, along with Apple and the drone industry, could enhance the region's reputation and attract more high-tech investment.

Audrey Singer, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, August 25, 2014
Two Years Later: Deferred Action In Nevada
Two years ago, President Barack Obama signed an order to protect certain immigrants who arrived in the country as young children. Many young undocumented immigrants in Southern Nevada have benefited from the program. But residents of our region have not been approved as quickly as those in other areas.

So how can the program work better in Las Vegas? And is it a good idea to allow the president to make immigration policy through executive order?

Pat Mulroy, Senior Fellow, Brookings Mountain West, July 1, 2014
Climate Adaptation and Environmental Policy
Three years of hot summers and winters lacking adequate snowfall are taking their toll on Dwayne Combs and other ranchers trying to make a living from the Nevada’s already dry landscape. Reservoirs in Nevada are also at dangerously low levels thanks to three years of drought. "In rural California, they have 50 percent to 60 percent unemployment," Pat Mulroy, senior fellow of climate adaptation and environmental policy at Brookings Mountain West told KNPR. "The magnitude of that lack of water resources becomes profound. For Nevada it is the same thing."

Mulroy, who also holds the Maki Distinguished Faculty Associate position at the Desert Research Institute, urged Nevada to develop "some real water strategies" to protect ranchers and urban areas. "I don’t think we have a choice," Mulroy said. "We have to balance the needs of agriculture and urban communities." Mulroy also congratulated Las Vegas for its conservation efforts.

"We don’t talk about our net footprint because we recycle everything," Mulroy said. "For the driest city in the United States to have a net footprint residentially of 75 gallons per person, per-day is phenomenal."

Robert E. Lang, Ph.D. UNLV Director, Brookings Mountain West, April 28, 2014
Should The States Takeover Federal Lands?
Cliven Bundy the man might be disgraced and discredited after his racist comments last week, but his anti-governmental stance has inspired a host of activity resisting the federal government – including calls by Western state leaders to take back federal lands. We'll talk the ins-and-outs with our panel, and also hear how the Bundy saga is hurting Bureau of Land Management progress outside of Clark County.

John Page, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution, April 7, 2014
The Future Of Africa
Africa has enjoyed great rates of economic growth in recent decades. But it still has high rates of corruption and troubled areas of war and poverty. What will it take to make the continent more sustainable? And more able to provide and raise a living for the booming population? John Page says it can no longer rely on selling resources. So what's his plan? What should Africa do?

Robert Lang, UNLV Director, Brookings Mountain West, April 3, 2014
Is Tier One Worth It For UNLV?
UNLV is pushing to be a Tier 1 Research University. Supporters of the effort say it will help lure top of the line professors to Nevada's largest institution of higher learning. But are the costs worth it? And will the investment pay off? We talk to an economic expert that says probably not.

Robert Lang, Director Brookings Mountain West
John Valery White, UNLV Provost John Valery White
Professor Alan Sanderson, University of Chicago
Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president of the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development for Advancing Research, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Arizona State University

Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution, March 25, 2014
The Future Of The U.S.- China Relationship
The relationship between the U.S. and China is now the most important part of the world's diplomatic puzzle. Neither side wants war, but the U.S. is unwilling to give up its long-held dominance in the Pacific, and China is unwilling to allow that to continue as its economic power in Asia grows. So how can this problem be negotiated? In an era of shrinking defense budgets, is the decline of American power inevitable?

Joshua Meltzer, fellow, Brookings Institution. March 11, 2014
The Future Of Internet Privacy
The integrity of the Internet has been thrown into doubt by the revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. He says the spies are destroying the Web. So what has to happen to ensure that the Internet is safe and secure for people both here and abroad? Brookings Institution fellow Joshua Meltzer will be discussing those issues at UNLV on Wednesday night.

John Tuman, Department of Political Science, UNLV, March 5, 2014
Latinos Grapple With Jobs And Housing
As noted earlier this year in a UNLV-Brookings Institute Study, The Las Vegas Latino community is still in recession. That means the need for services — including housing assistance, foreclosure help, and health access — remains high as the economy improves generally. Yet, according to workers on the ground, the new trend in the community is to shun those services. We talk with Margarita Robellal, the Executive Director at Community Services of Nevada about a trend she says is deeply troubling and largely ignored. We also speak with UNLV professor John Tuman about why a bad job market lingers for Latinos.

Bruce Jones, Foreign Policy fellow, Brookings Institution, March 4, 2014
The world is facing another crisis because of Russia's push to keep Ukraine within its sphere of influence. But this is what we should expect, says foreign policy expert, Bruce Jones. The world was unusually quiet during the past 20 years but Russia and China no longer want to play that game and so we can expect more crises in coming years. Bruce Jones will be speaking tonight at the World Affairs Council of Las Vegas and tomorrow night at UNLV. He joins us ahead of those appearances.

Adie Tomer, senior research associate, Brookings Institution, February 25, 2014
Transportation, Jobs And Technology
Transportation problems, from poor planning to terrible congestion, can impede economic development. And while Las Vegas currently does a pretty good job connecting workers to available jobs on public transportation, the region may need to improve transportation options to attract diverse and high-tech employers. So what parts of our traffic system are working well? And what do we need to improve?

Neil Ruiz, senior policy analyst, Brookings Institution, February 4, 2014
Migration And Economic Development
Migration is a major factor in economic growth - whether it's attracting new highly-skilled migrants to the U.S. or the massive wave of workers flooding urban areas in China, Brazil and elsewhere to create new manufacturing industries. But how can we control it? And what is the best migration policy?

Vanda Felbab-Brown, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, January 28, 2014
The Future In Afghanistan
The war in Afghanistan has not ended with the democratic state that the United States had hoped to leave behind. Right now, the government is negotiating to ensure some security and stability after American troops leave in 2014. So what went wrong? And what can be done now? Vanda Felbab-Brown will be examining those questions at UNLV on Wednesday and she joins us ahead of that lecture to look at problems in America's longest war.

John Tuman, UNLV Political Science Department, January 14, 2014
Latino Unemployment Remains High
Unemployment in the Latino community remains high in Nevada, despite years of economic recovery. Other groups have been quicker to return to work, but Latino workers have increasingly dropped out of the work force or endured long stretches of unemployment. Why has the recession hit the Hispanic community so much harder than other groups? And what needs to happen to help them recover?

Rob Lang, UNLV Director, Brookings Mountain West, January 13, 2014
The Rough Road to Interstate 11
Should the federal government build a highway from Las Vegas to Phoenix? Many community and business leaders in Las Vegas believe such a road could help boost the economy in Southern Nevada. But residents in some of the communities in the path of the proposed interstate aren't so sure. They're worried about noise, traffic and the change that might occur in their towns if the road is built. So is the interstate really essential to the economic wellbeing of Las Vegas? How should planners accommodate the needs of smaller communities that could be disrupted by the project?

Beth Akers, fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution, November 6, 2013
Is College Really Worth it?
The cost of going to college is rising. No matter what the rate of inflation, tuition has been going up four or five percent annually. So are colleges pricing themselves out of the market? Is the debt burden so great that it negates the additional earning power of a college degree? And should the community be putting more money into state and community colleges because it is a societal benefit? Beth Akers argues we need to re-think how we look at the investment in a college education. She talks with us ahead of her lecture at UNLV.

Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Brookings Institution. October 29, 2013
Compromising On The Deficit
The national government has lurched from one crisis to the next in recent years – the fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, the Bush tax cuts and the recent shutdown. Those deals were always done to stave off major economic disaster. Brookings Scholar Ron Haskins says there is a better way. He faults both sides for refusing to admit that a real solution to the deficit crisis requires both tax increases and entitlement cuts. But how do we get there?

Adele Morris, Fellow in Economic Studies and Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics, Brookings Institution, October 8, 2013
Will Carbon Tax Fix Energy Woes?
Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution is proposing a policy that she says would fix both the energy and fiscal problems of the United States simultaneously. A carbon tax - across all forms of fossil fuel energy - would raise additional revenue, encourage energy conservation and stimulate the development of new forms of renewable energy that would not attract the tax. She tells us why it's a great idea for the Mountain West.

Molly Jackman, Fellow, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution, October 1, 2013
Gridlock Looms
So you only need to get 50 percent of the votes to pass a bill in Congress right? Well, not quite, says Brookings Institution Fellow Molly Jackman. In fact, the rules in the legislature have an enormous impact on what happens with a law and with government policy. Of course, we're seeing that played out in Washington right now with the looming shutdown of the government. So how do those rules affect what happens and do we need to reform those rules?

Jonathan Rothwell, Senior Research Associate, Brookings Institution, September 17, 2013
The Hidden STEM Economy
Americans have had an unending stream of bad news about science, technical, engineering and math education. We're middling or worse. But this misinterprets the nature of the STEM, argues Brookings Institution scholar Jonathan Rothwell. These numbers overestimate the need for higher degrees and misrepresent how much skill we actually have in the workforce. So how should we think of these disciplines? Are we really doing as well as we can?

Tracy Gordon, Fellow, Economic Studies, September 11, 2013
Where Are Nevada's Federal Dollars?
Nevada ranks last in the per capita receipt from the federal government. But why? Sometimes, the state won't match federal funding, and sometimes we just refuse to compete. But Nevada's poor haul from the federal government results from many factors, argues Brookings' scholar, Tracy Gordon.

Philip Wallach, Fellow in Governance Studies, Brookings Institution, March 20, 2013
EPA Focuses On Carbon Emissions
Just because Congress has not acted on climate change does not mean the president is powerless. The Environmental Protection Agency has considerable power to make regulations that would reduce carbon emissions. So how well can it work and what is the best way to achieve lower carbon? Brooking Institution Fellow Philip Wallach will be discussing those questions at a lecture at UNLV.

Audrey Singer, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution, February 27, 2013
Large Gap Remains In The Immigration Debate
Republicans have made immigration reform a priority after last November's election. But how will the left and the right bridge the gap that exists in what that reform should look like? Brookings researcher Audrey Singer will speak at UNLV in March. She joins us to talk immigration reform.

Carol Graham, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, February 21, 2013
Measuring Happiness
Economists who have been calculating gross domestic product and trade deficits for years have turned their attention to happiness. They want to know what makes people happy, and what governments can do to promote more happiness in their citizens. But first they have to know how to measure happiness in the first place. So what does happiness mean to you? And do you know what you need to achieve happiness?

Adele Morris, Fellow, Economic Studies and Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics, Economic Studies, Brookings Institution, October 23, 2012
Can Clean Energy Boost the Economy
Experts say that clean energy, such as wind and solar, is good for the environment. But studies show it also can be good for our nation's economy. Brookings Institute scholar Adele Morris will take a look at how clean energy can boost our economy, and what states and local governments should be doing to build a clean energy industry.

Steven Pifer, Director of the Brookings Arms Control Initiative, October 8, 2012
Future of Nuclear Weapons Policy
Nuclear arms were created during the 1940s, and were used as a deterrent during the Cold War. Since then, the world has had to figure out how to handle the world's deadliest weapons. A presentation on Wednesday will explore challenges and opportunities facing Washington D.C. following the 2012 presidential elections in Russia and the U.S.

Bruce Jones, Nonresident Fellow, Foreign Affairs; and Director of the Managing Global Order Project, Brookings Institution, October 3, 2012
Redefining America's Role On The Global Stage
There was a time when the United States was seen as the one global leader. But that is no longer the case, as China, Brazil and others increase their global clout. But while there are now more players on the global stage, the United States and the West still remain central to managing the new global order.

John Banks, Nonresident Fellow, Foreign Policy Program and Energy Security Initiative, Brookings Institution, September 25, 2012
Debating Energy Policy
Since the oil embargo of 1973, the US has struggled to implement a sustainable and comprehensive national energy policy. We'll talk with John Banks, a Brookings Institute nonresident fellow in foreign policy and energy security about what is impacting the energy policy debate.

Tracy Gordon, Fellow, Economic Studies and Urban Institute - Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, September 18, 2012
Nevada Adjusts to Economy
Nevada was one of the states most affected by the economic downturn, which meant it also had to deal with one of the nation's worst state budget shortfalls in 2011. So what did state and local governments do well during the downturn? And what could we have done better?

Robert Lang, UNLV Director, Brookings Mountain West, July 2, 2012
Is the Las Vegas Economy Keeping up with the Region
The economies in Metropolitan areas in the Mountain West region are recovering at a good pace but unemployment still remains high in Las Vegas and across the entire state of Nevada. That's according to a new report from Brookings Mountain West at UNLV. Is Nevada keeping up with the region? And what needs to be done to keep pace with our neighbors in places like Arizona, Colorado and Utah? We discuss the latest Brookings Mountain Monitor report and the latest on Nevada's economic activity.

Adele Morris, Fellow, Economic Studies, March 27, 2012
The Future of the Tax System
Most everyone agrees that the American tax system is unfair, unnecessarily complicated, and riddled with loopholes for special interests. There is, however, no consensus on the fix. One person's loophole is another's great social policy or national economic security. And then what should be done about popular tax breaks like the mortgage interest and charitable deductions? Brookings Institution Economist Adele Morris is giving her thoughts at UNLV and gives us a preview of her thinking.

Peter Singer, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy and Director, 21st Century Defense Initiative, March 20, 2012
What is Changing in War and National Security?
P.W. Singer has established himself as one of the leading experts on modern warfare - drones and robots as well as armies of children and corporate employees. Singer is the Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution.

Rob Lang, UNLV Director of Brookings Mountain West, January 30, 2012
The Future of Infrastructure in Las Vegas
The freeways are being widened and McCarran has a new terminal but does that cover Las Vegas infrastructure needs? Could new roads and railroads really strengthen the economy in Southern Nevada? And what else will diversify the kind of business that is carried on in Nevada? The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, which is usually opposed to new government spending, is a convert to the idea that we need to re-think the infrastructure needs of Las Vegas. Who converted the members? Urban Studies Professor and Director of Brookings Mountain West Robert Lang. He joins us to discuss the long-term development of the economy in Southern Nevada.

Tom Loveless, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, January 9, 2012
How U.S. Students Compare Globally
Tom Loveless is a former sixth grade teacher and Harvard public policy professor. He's been studying the achievement gap, education policy, and school reform. So how can we reform our school district? What would teachers and the state have to do? How do we close the achievement gap? And can we compete on a global scale with other countries, whose students surpass us? Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution weighs in.

Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, October 19, 2011
How Federal Deficit Cutting Might Impact Nevada
As part of a deal to reduce the nation's deficit, Congress created a "super committee" tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next ten years. With those cuts could come reduced funding for state programs that rely on federal money. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction as it is officially known, has been working since September but has been pretty quiet about what's going on. Ron Haskins discusses how the super committee is working and what might be in store for Nevadans.

Robert Lang, UNLV Director, Brookings Mountain West, September 2, 2011
A Look at the Future of Las Vegas
Las Vegas continues to struggle with how to climb out of the current economic crisis. The numbers are overwhelming and all too familiar. The highest foreclosure rate, lowest graduation rate, tops in unemployment and a struggle with diversification. We continue our discussion with the BBC's Lawrence Pollard and panel of local experts and leaders about what's in store for Las Vegas looking ahead.

Clifford Gaddy, Economist and Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institute, April 19, 2011
Clifford Gaddy on the Power of Russian Oil
Many people associate oil with the Middle East. But Russia is actually the world's largest producer of oil and gas. For 40 years, oil and gas have driven Russia's economy and foreign policy. So what role does Russia play on the fuel stage today? And how can it influence world energy security and geopolitics? Brookings Mountain West scholar Clifford Gaddy joins us for an in-depth look at Russia's "liquid gold."

Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, March 9, 2011
Cost of Not Having Immigration Reform
Darrell West is one member of a panel that explores this important issue. Arizona, and many more states across the country, are pushing forward with their own immigration laws. They're frustrated the federal government is not doing something about the issue. We'll look at the latest bills in Arizona's legislature as well as debate the true cost of having so many undocumented workers in America.

Rebecca Winthrop, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Universal Education, the Brookings Institute, February 10, 2011
Education in the Developing World
Rebecca Winthrop has studied education in some of the world's most violent and conflicted hot spots. The former head of education for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has studied how girls and refugees learn in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. Can education cut down on militant extremism? Rebecca Winthrop gives an insider's look at how people learn inside war-torn countries, and what the next steps are for third-world education.

Matthew N. Murray, Professor of Economics and Associate Director, CBER, University of Tennessee, January 5, 2011
State Budgets and Planning for the Future
States in the Intermountain West like Nevada are likely to face budget challenges over the next decade. The reason? Poor planning and a lack of foresight in budget planning. That's according to a new report from Brookings Mountain West at UNLV. So do Nevadans and the state's elected leaders have the will to make things change? We discuss how Nevada can prepare for future state deficits and if the political process is in place to make it happen.

Alan Mallach, nonresident senior fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program of The Brookings Institution, October 25, 2010
The Future of US Housing Policy
Foreclosures and plummeting housing prices. That pretty much summarizes daily life in Las Vegas. That's fundamentally changed how America's housing market works, says a Brookings expert. How will this shape future housing policies? How do we turn empty lots into community assets? Alan Mallach talks about the housing market "reset" and what's in store for homeowners.

Mark Muro, Co-Dir, Brookings Mountain West, and Fellow and Policy Director Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, September 2, 2010
Brookings Centers of Invention
Brookings Mountain West at UNLV says that Nevada can be at the heart a transformation in how the country reduces its carbon footprint. By establishing federally funded innovation centers across the intermountain West, Brookings says the region can capitalize on its many world class assets. Two of the six proposed centers in the report are in Nevada, one in Reno that would focus on geothermal research and one in Southern Nevada which would focus on solar energy. So how can Northern and Southern Nevada benefit from its existing resources and build out on its purported potential? We talk with Brookings Scholar, Mark Muro about the report and why Nevada would be a good place for energy innovation.

Robert Puentes, Senior Fellow, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and Tom Skancke, President of The Skancke Company, July 27, 2010
Building the I-11
Now is the time to focus on building Interstate 11. The proposed freeway would connect Phoenix and Las Vegas and be part of a redesigned Boulder City bypass. But who would benefit from this highway? And how will it be funded?

William Antholis, May 18, 2010
Reclaiming Prosperity
Strobe Talbott and William Antholis of the Brookings Institution are in Las Vegas on May 19th to speak at UNLV about their new book, Fast Forward: Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming. Bill Antholis speaks with us about the increasing threat of climate change.

Bruce Katz, April 20, 2010
Reclaiming Prosperity
Bruce Katz from the Brookings Institution tells us how Nevada can rethink its approach to business and innovation and bring Las Vegas out of the recession. And the key factors in creating and sustaining jobs and a strong educated workforce.

Mark Muro, March 22, 2010
Mountain Monitor
Nevada's economy typically roars back from recession, but not this time around. We're joined by Mark Muro, one of the authors of the Brookings Mountain Monitors Report. He tells us why Nevada continues to struggle even as the nation inches forward.

Adele Morris, Nov. 17, 2009
Cap and Trade
Brookings Institution economist Adele Morris explains why the Copenhagen conference will not be able to agree on a common plan to tackle climate change. She instead suggests that the United States has to pass its climate legislation before it can expect a serious response from the rest of the world to treaty proposals. She also recommends a tax on carbon emissions but it will have to be imposed by the emissions trading scheme now in Congress.

Pietro Nivola, Nov. 10, 2009
Fuel Economy
Since the Carter administration, the government has been trying to improve the nation's fuel economy. But the average miles per gallon are still around 27 mpg more than two decades after the effort began. What went wrong. Brookings Institution scholar Pietro Nivola discusses the long and winding road to fuel economy in the United States.

Mark Muro, Oct. 8, 2009
Air Travel Trends
A new report from the Brookings Institution suggests that there's much more air travel out west than previously thought. That might also spell out the need to rethink high-speed rail in the Southwest and not limit it to the left and right coasts. Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution discusses the new findings.

Clifford Winston, Oct. 7, 2009
Markets and Regulation
Brookings Institution economist Clifford Winston talks about the lessons of the financial meltdown for regulating the financial system. He discusses the efficiency of markets and what he thinks the lessons are.

Rob Lang, Sept. 9, 2009
Brookings West
UNLV is teaming up with The Brookings Institution. The partnership will create a western branch to bring an arm of the Washington-based think tank to Las Vegas. Brookings West will research public policy on infrastructure and quality of life changes facing intermountain west states. Robert Lang, senior fellow, at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, tells us why Las Vegas is the place for Brookings.

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