Local businesses ‘welcome’ new competitors attracted with a big chunk of their tax money during a recession, right?

“Southern Nevada’s economy is welcoming some new businesses,” says the lede on the banner story atop the Business section of today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The story reports that the Governor’s Office of Economic Development approved funding and/or tax incentives for six companies planning to move to Las Vegas and set up shop. The bribe money to attract these businesses comes from Nevada’s $10 million Catalyst Fund, which the attorney general says is constitutional, though the Nevada Constitution states:

Sec: 9.  Gifts or loans of public money to certain corporations prohibited. The State shall not donate or loan money, or its credit, subscribe to or be, interested in the Stock of any company, association, or corporation, except corporations formed for educational or charitable purposes.

According to its website the Governor’s Office of Economic Development “promotes a robust, diversified and prosperous economy in Nevada, stimulating business expansion and retention, encouraging entrepreneurial enterprise, attracting new business and facilitating community development.”

The news story, with that oh-so-welcoming opening paragraph, reports, “The biggest chunk of change — as much as $1.2 million — would go to SolarCity, a California-based company that provides renewable energy to homeowners, businesses and government agencies. The funding would help SolarCity open a location here.”

From SolarCity website

Let’s just look at this one company for a minute.

I’m sure the two dozen or so companies in Las Vegas that already are in the business of installing solar panels at homes, businesses and government agencies and have been paying taxes for decades to the state and local governments are sincerely welcoming the competitor from California with the $1.2 million grubstake that they helped pay for. You’d think fleeing California would be incentive enough.

I bet all the employees of, say, Bombard Electric — which has been in Las Vegas since 1982, paying taxes and business license fees and complying with all the regulations and restrictions heaped on contractors of every stripe here — welcome SolarCity and the “hundreds of jobs” it will create to compete for contracts to install solar panels.

Maybe Bombard and Sibo and Suntrek and Heliocol West and Solar Unlimited and Green Power Systems should all apply to the governor for a grubstake, too. But they are already here, doing business and paying taxes and competing against each other, what’s the point in helping those suckers.

Maybe the governor would hand me $1.2 million to start up a newspaper to compete with the Review-Journal. I’m sure the paper would be welcoming and appreciative of the economic stimulation their taxes will be generating for Southern Nevada’s economy.

Isn’t it nice that your governor and lawmakers are picking winners and losers for us. I’m sure the bankers and food distributors and metal fabricators all appreciate the new competition being brought to town with their tax money, as the R-J story reports.

One side note, lest the local government agencies are salivating over all the taxes that will be generated by all those solar panel installations, state law exempts solar panels from sales and property taxes.

Solar panels in my backyard, installed by Bombard Electric.

Solar panels in my backyard, installed by Bombard Electric.

14 comments on “Local businesses ‘welcome’ new competitors attracted with a big chunk of their tax money during a recession, right?

  1. A.D. Hopkins says:

    I was under impression that “diversification funds” were to be used for diversification, which by definition means getting businesses we didn’t already have.

  2. Once the camel’s nose is under the tent, A.D.

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  3. Boyd says:

    Let me suggest a corollary to this. Many here in Elko claim that local business is getting fat from the spoils of our localized boom in mining services and the construction that drives. What they ignorantly ignore is that you now can’t see from one end of Idaho St to the other through the forest of pickups and lumber racks of unlicensed Contractors and illegal immigrants drawn to this boom. None of whom should be here except, as is typical of governments, they ignore enforcement against the criminal but enforce it against the innocent. I am forced to pay fees, taxes, licenses, bonds, insurances and any number of other things so the government can sit idly by while I am destroyed by the things they promised to protect me from if I paid their price. All in the name of fairness and promoting growth. Bitter? No, not me.

  4. A near perfect example, Boyd, of government incompetence.

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  5. Boyd says:

    Sometimes I think incompetent is too generous a term for government. Incompetence implies some level of introspection and concern over ones abilities. I don’t believe government in our times much cares about its abilities. It has acquired a life of its own now and it is devouring anything that might support its survival. I seem to be at the front of the line so I get eaten first. I guess that’s what I get for being an old white Conservative male Protestant businessman.

    But if people were smart the question they would be asking is, “who’s next”? It’s fast becoming a Progressive version of Survivor where we all are being reduced to shooting looks at each other wondering who will be next to be voted off the island.

    Somehow I don’t think this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

  6. […] turns out the Governor’s Office of Economic Development is doling out $1.2 million in funding and/or tax incentives from Nevada’s Catalyst Fund to get California-based SolarCity to locate […]

  7. Wait till you read the follow up, Boyd.

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  8. Rincon says:

    Although I understand your dismay at the choice of businesses to receive tax breaks for moving in, it brings up the phenomonen of cities and states granting tax breaks to large companies in order to induce them to come. Is this a problem and if so, how would you solve it?

  9. Government should butt out of picking winners and losers.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree Thomas, but how to make it happen? I suspect this would be tricky to regulate.

  11. Rincon says:

    Sorry, it’s early. It’s also a good excuse if I happen to put my foot in my mouth. I’m Anonymous.

  12. Wendy Ellis says:

    http://www.diversifynevada.com/about/state-plan
    Picking winners and losers. In his plan, Gov. Sandoval lists the “targeted industries.” He also characterizes Nevada as a leader in the use of solar energy. As though this is a good thing. How many full-time jobs are there at each of the completed solar plants in NV? Very few. Copper Mountain has maybe 10. There are temporary construction jobs, but they quickly vanish.

    With all of the Federal and State incentives, and tax abatements the solar industry receives, who is going to pick up the revenue slack? Individuals? Other industries which are not among Gov. Sandoval’s “targeted industries?”

    http://energy.nv.gov/
    (the new site)

    http://energy.state.nv.us/
    (the original site–notice the link to the NEAC–Nevada Energy Assistance Corporation)
    http://energy.state.nv.us/resources-forms/neac.html
    (funded by 2009 ARRA Stimulus money)

  13. You know how many people operate and maintain my solar panels, Wendy?

    None.

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  14. […] makes this all doubly confounding is that state taxpayers shelled out $1.2 million two years ago to attract rooftop solar panel installer SolarCity to open in Nevada and […]

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