Thanks for your lack of support, here take some money

This is what happens when the right hand doesn’t care what the left hand is doing after being stabbed in the back — to mangle a metaphor.

This past month Anthem Inc. announced it would stop selling ObamaCare-compliant health insurance plans in all but three Nevada counties. The decision left no company willing to sell ObamaCare policies in any counties except Clark, Nye and Washoe.

Gov. Brian Sandoval called the action devastating and unfortunate. His statement at the time read: “My administration is working diligently to identify solutions to ensure there is, at the very least, a safety net available to rural Nevada residents who will be left without any options for coverage in the wake of these devastating and unfortunate decisions. The reduced footprint of carriers on the exchange will leave more than 8,000 Nevadans with no coverage, and that is unacceptable.”

Heather Korbulic, the state’s health exchange director, called the situation a “health care crisis for rural Nevada.”

In pulling out of those 14 counties Anthem stated the “individual market remains volatile” and “planning and pricing for ACA (Affordable Care Act)-compliant health plans has become increasingly difficult due to a shrinking and deteriorating individual market …”

This week the state repaid Anthem’s decision with a huge tax abatement package.

According to a press release from Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development has decided to hand Anthem $831,000 in tax abatements in exchange for leasing a customer service office in Las Vegas and hiring as many as 400 workers — at an average wage of $21.52 an hour or 1 percent more than the minimum requirement — over the next two years. That’s more than $2,000 per job.

Did anyone consider trying to use a little leverage for the rural counties? Or are they better off without ObamaCare policies, since the price is climbing by double digits.

In 2016 Anthem paid its top executive more than $16 million. The company’s gross profits in 2016 exceeded $18 billion.




Tesla keeps raking in tax credits though its jobs and capital investments are falling short of projections

Inside Tesla gigafactory.

Inside Tesla gigafactory.

Nevada keeps handing out money to Tesla Motors even though it is not coming close to living up to projections made when the Legislature in 2014 agreed to $1.3 billion in tax breaks and credits in return for the company building a $5 billion, 10 million-square-foot factory battery factory near Sparks.

This week the Governor’s Office of Economic Development agreed to provide Tesla with $8 million in transferable tax credits, bringing the firm’s tax credits to more than $35 million so far, even though the company has created only 331 jobs so far, well under the projected 1,700 jobs, according to a 2014 analysis of the project by Applied Economics.

The factory’s capital investment is also falling short — with only $600 million invested so far, compared to a projected $2 billion.

Since the company has almost no tax liability in Nevada the tax credits can to sold, presumably at a discount, to companies who owe taxes. Previously, Tesla has sold $20 million in tax credits to MGM. The certificate for the $8 million specifies it is to be applied to gaming licensing fees.

The projections provided lawmakers in 2014 forecast the plant would have 4,700 workers in 2017 and 6,500 in 2018. It also estimated an economic impact of over $100 billion over the next 20 years.



Editorial: State agency playing fast and loose with tax incentives

Let’s make a deal. What’ll it take to get you to close the deal? A little wheeling? A little dealing? A little quid pro quo? Pay no attention to the price tag. That’s for the suckers.

After a meeting of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) this past week, the agency put out a press release boasting that it had approved “the creation of thousands of new jobs in Nevada through the expansion of existing Nevada companies, and companies that are moving to the state.”

GOED Director Steve Hill positively crowed, “We continue to see extraordinary businesses show interest in Nevada for a myriad of reasons, including location, available incentives, business friendliness and the quality of life. These companies will add to the gaining strength of our economy by creating thousands of jobs for Nevadans and continuing the narrative that Nevada is a great state in which to do business.”

Nowhere in the press release did it ever state what those “incentives” were. The word “tax” was nowhere to be seen.

Yet, in one meeting alone the agency magnanimously doled out a total of more than $6 million in tax abatements over the next 10 years to six different companies — five in Clark County, one in Washoe and none anywhere else in the state.

Apparently based on a strict mathematical calculation commonly known as a whim, the companies had their sales taxes slashed to a mere 2 percent for two years — instead of nearer 8 percent for those not so privileged — and their property and modified business taxes are being cut by either 25 percent or 50 percent for several years — depending on how good a deal each could wrangle.

The biggest tax forgiveness packages went to the multi-billion-dollar Internet marketer Amazon — $1.8 million — and something called TH Foods — $2.2 million.

There seemed to be little rhyme nor reason for the size of the largess in comparison to the relative benefit to the state and those taxpayers still required to pay the going rate. You know, the sticker price.

The numbers crunchers claimed one company would generate more than $68 in additional tax revenue for the state for every dollar of abatement, but another would generate only $2.50 for each tax dollar forgiven. Of course, that is pure speculation and conjecture.

Even though one of the stated reasons in the law creating such tax abatement incentives is to create high-wage jobs, only two of the companies so favored last week said their average hourly wages would exceed the targeted statewide average of $21.35 an hour and two companies reported their wages would be less than $15 an hour — one of those Amazon.

This wheeling and dealing was done despite the fact the Nevada Constitution clearly states, “The Legislature shall provide by law for a uniform and equal rate of assessment and taxation …” It ain’t uniform or equal if a select few get breaks while others don’t.

And pay no never mind to that part of the Constitution known as the Gift Clause, which states, “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.”

Remember, that $6 million in tax breaks was from one single meeting of the ever so generous GEOD, which has already doled out billions of dollars in tax “incentives” to Apple, Tesla Motors, Faraday Future and countless other billionaires.

Hey, no peeking behind the curtain at the fact the 2015 Legislature just raised taxes by $1.5 billion on all of us who are too insignificant or too timid to cut special deals, nor at the fact the state is already running a budget deficit of $400 million.

For that $6 million in tax abatements this past week, the companies claimed they might create as many as 2,000 jobs.

In 2012 alone small businesses in Nevada created 15,000 jobs without asking for any tax abatements or credits. What does that make them? Rubes? Suckers?

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Amazon plans a warehouse in Nevada like this one in Phoenix. (AP file photo via R-J)

Amazon plans a warehouse in Nevada like this one in Phoenix. (AP file photo via R-J)

Newspaper column: Lawmakers hand out unconstitutional corporate gift to another billionaire

Gov. Brian Sandoval signs a bill giving public tax money to build a football stadium. (AP photo by John Locher)

Gov. Brian Sandoval signs a bill giving public tax money to build a football stadium. (AP photo by John Locher)

Meeting in special session in Carson City this past week Nevada lawmakers opened the windows and threw caution and tax money to the wind, voting to raise the room tax rate in much of Clark County by 0.88 of a percentage point in order to contribute $750 million toward construction of a 65,000-seat domed football stadium estimated to cost $1.9 billion.

The measure, Senate Bill 1, passed by the constitutionally mandated two-thirds majority in both the Senate and Assembly – 16-5 in the Senate and 28-13 in the Assembly.

The stadium is being pushed by billionaire casino and newspaper owner Sheldon Adelson who promises to shell out $650 million from his rather deep pockets to pay for construction. The National Football League and the Oakland Raiders are supposed to contribute $500 million toward construction. The $750 million public sop is the largest ever by any public entity for a sports facility in this country.

All profits from stadium operations accrue strictly to the private investors.

At one point during the Assembly hearings, Assemblyman Ira Hansen of Sparks asked what happens if the stadium comes in under the $1.9 billion estimate. Would the taxpayers still be on the hook for the full $750 million?

Steve Hill of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which had touted the project, replied: “Technically that’s correct.”

Before Hill could elaborate, Hansen cut him off with a terse: “Thank you.”

So, if the project comes in closer to the original estimate of $1 billion, the taxpayers will pick up 75 percent of the cost and the billionaires keep their money.

One of those testifying against the public spending for a football stadium for the Raiders was former Las Vegas City Councilman Frank Hawkins, who noted that he played seven seasons for the Raiders, including winning a Super Bowl. Hawkins said billionaires don’t need the public tax money to fund 40 percent of their stadium. He also noted that Raiders owner Mark Davis had called to try to change his mind by agreeing to no television blackouts locally for games that are not sellouts.

SB1 creates a stadium authority to build and operate the stadium, exempts the authority from any legal requirements for competitive bidding and makes just about every financial deal cut by the authority exempt from public records laws.

The bill says “the Stadium Authority shall keep confidential any record or other document provided to the Stadium Authority by a developer partner, the National Football League team or the Stadium Events Company,” if asked to do so. The public will be kept in the dark about whether their “public” stadium is providing valuable public assets to a favored few at below market value.

The Legislature certainly has the power to create exemptions to existing laws.

What it does not have is the power to create exemptions to the state Constitution. That document has a Gift Clause, which states, “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.”

Self-styled economic development advocates have tried three times to amend the Constitution and remove the Gift Clause. The voters rejected those attempts all three times — in 1992, 1996 and again in 2000 by wide majorities.

The state Supreme Court has said that when the state provides something to a private entity without getting adequate compensation for the value, that is a gift and thus a violation of the Constitution.

Nevada’s high court has cited an Arizona Supreme Court ruling on that state’s nearly identical Gift Clause. The Arizona court said its Gift Clause “represents the reaction of public opinion to the orgies of extravagant dissipation of public funds by counties, townships, cities, and towns in aid of the construction of railways, canals, and other like undertakings during the half century preceding 1880, and it was designed primarily to prevent the use of public funds raised by general taxation in aid of enterprises apparently devoted to quasi public purposes, but actually engaged in private business.”

Professional football hardly qualifies as even a quasi public purpose unless you include “bread and circuses.”

This was the third special session in as many years. The previous two handed out billions in tax breaks and abatements to the billionaire owners of electric car companies Tesla and Faraday Future.

Perhaps some public spirited group will ask the courts to take a look at this latest generous gift and determine whether it truly is for a public purpose.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Update: Space was insufficient to provide this quote from a Nebraska court ruling:

“Every new business, manufacturing plant, or industrial plant which may be established in a municipality will be of some benefit to the municipality. A new super market, a new department store, a new meat market, a steel mill, a crate manufacturing plant, a pulp mill, or other establishments which could be named without end, may be of material benefit to the growth, progress, development and prosperity of a municipality. But these considerations do not make the acquisition of land and the erection of buildings, for such purposes, a municipal purpose. Our organic law prohibits the expenditure of public money for a private purpose. It does not matter whether the money is derived by ad valorem taxes, by gift, or otherwise. It is public money and under our organic law public money cannot be appropriated for a private purpose or used for the purpose of acquiring property for the benefit of a private concern. It does not matter what such undertakings may be called or how worthwhile they may appear to be at the passing moment. The financing of private enterprises by means of public funds is entirely foreign to a proper concept of our constitutional system. Experience has shown that such encroachments will lead inevitably to the ultimate destruction of the private enterprise system.”

This and the Arizona court ruling were cited by the the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation in its case against the Governor’s Office of Economic Development for handing out state gifts to companies such as SolarCity.


State hands out more money for hiring people to company that is laying off workers

Just open the window and throw money into the wind.

This past week the Governor’s Office of Economic Development gave another $400,000 to SolarCity for creating jobs in Nevada — two months after the company laid off 550 employees and stopped doing its primary function, installing rooftop solar panels, because the Public Utilities Commission so screwed up the rates for solar panels as to make them financially unfeasible.

In March 2013 the GOED promised SolarCity $1.2 million if it would open operations in Nevada — to be paid in $400,000 increments. This past week’s check was the second.

In a press release, in which the company’s name is misspelled through out, the GOED never mentions the PUC action or its resulting consequences.

Steve Hill, the director of the GOED, said, “The grant dollars are exclusive to the hiring of full-time workers at the Company’s financial services division, and are not related to the installation side of the Company’s business.”

Though what they will finance, if they are no longer installing solar panels, is unclear.

The money comes from a $10 million so-called Catalyst Fund.

The Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation, a division of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, has sued the state, saying such handouts violate the Gift Clause in the state Constitution.

The Nevada Constitution specifically states: “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.”

There were already several tax-paying solar panel installing companies in the state when the state handed tax money to SolarCity to come here and compete with them — until the PUC derailed the gravy train.

Throwing good money after bad?



Crony socialism is now all right with them

Methinks the editorial position of the Las Vegas newspaper bent to the left this morning.

Under the headline, “State stepping up for autonomous cars,” the editorial in this morning’s Review-Journal applauded Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval for deciding to appoint an autonomous car expert to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) — “a person whose job it will be to meet with companies looking to develop the industry and convince them Nevada is the place to do it.”

The editorial went on to applaud the governor for shelling out tax money and/or tax credits and abatements to attract companies such as Apple Computer, Switch, Tesla and Faraday Future, all described as big players in the information and energy economy.

“Gov. Sandoval’s competitive streak — and his vision for economic development — is but one reason Nevada has an advantage over other states when it comes to the new industry of driverless cars,” the editorial gushes with enthusiasm and calls for more of the same. “The state’s higher education system needs to match that vision with a competitive job-training program of its own, tailored specifically to the needs of the companies that will set up shop here.”

It seems like only yesterday, well, two years ago, the same editorial page was bemoaning such largesse under the headline, “Subsidized jobs,” noting that some of the deals GOED was cutting amounted to between $5,000 and $55,000 per job.

That editorial ended thusly:

Even at the levels handed out last month, the public simply can’t afford to subsidize its way to full employment. And it’s absolutely brutal to ask local businesses, who have invested in this community and sacrificed to keep their doors open, to pay full freight for themselves so newcomers — and potential competitors — can enter the market at a discount.

Nevada needs jobs, and the Barclaycard US and CITRA plans will help. But having Nevada governments pick winners isn’t a long-term employment solution. Our officials should be just as focused on doing whatever it takes to ensure existing companies can stay in business and grow. Let’s find a way to give them a break.

If a Republican governor and a Republican majority Legislature — meeting twice in special sessions — can embrace such crony socialism, so can a once-staunchly libertarian editorial page.

Evolution rewards the survival of the fittest.

Then there is the survival of those who just fit in.

Photo of Gov. Brian Sandoval accompanying the online version of today’s Review-Journal editorial. (R-J photo)


Newspaper column: Nevada is killing jobs it spent tax money to attract (Updated)

Sometimes the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

Two years ago the Governor’s Office of Economic Development doled out $1.2 million to entice rooftop solar panel installer SolarCity to open an office in Nevada and create jobs.

This past week the governor-appointed Public Utilities Commission became the Governor’s Office of Economic Dismemberment, issuing rules that make SolarCity’s business model no longer viable in Nevada. The next day the company announced it is shutting down most operations and laying off workers.

“The people of Nevada have consistently chosen solar, but yesterday their state government decided to end customer choice, damage the state’s economy, and jeopardize thousands of jobs,” SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said in a press release. “The PUC has protected NV Energy’s monopoly, and everyone else will lose. We have no alternative but to cease Nevada sales and installations, but we will fight this flawed decision on behalf of our Nevada customers and employees.”

SolarCity is run by Elon Musk, whose Tesla Motors was given a $1.3 billion package of tax credits and abatements to build an electric car battery plant near Sparks. All in the name of creating jobs.

Solar panels being installed. (R-J photo)

The three-member panel ordered NV Energy to start charging so-called net metering customers with solar panels an additional connection charge and to slash the credit for power uploaded to the grid from the retail rate of more than 11 cents per kilowatt-hour to the wholesale rate of about 5 cents — stretching out for years the length of time it will take for current solar panels to provide a return on investment and possibly making it impossible for new installations to ever pencil out. NV Energy must now provide the actual rates by Jan. 1.

According to Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), net metering is required in 44 states but is a thorn in the side of utility companies, which can buy renewable energy cheaper from utility-scale solar plants instead of giving credit for rooftop solar at the same rate as retail. Solar panel owners contend they are not “selling” power, but are banking it, uploading power to the grid when the sun shines and withdrawing power when the sun goes down.

The utility companies claim they make hundreds of dollars less each year providing service to net metering customers, and that is somehow unfair to other ratepayers.

Oddly, state law requires 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by the year 2025, and the state has for years required NV Energy to provide subsidies to cover the cost of installing rooftop solar panels, a cost passed on in the form of higher power bills to all ratepayers.

Businesses that install rooftop panels had warned that this decision could cost the state 6,000 jobs. SolarCity itself has 2,000 employees here, according to a Nov. 30 press release announcing a new training center.

Bryan Miller, a vice president of solar panel installer Sunrun and head of The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), told IBD there will be litigation challenging the PUC decision because state law requires Nevada to encourage renewable energy investment.

“We believe the (Nevada Public Utilities Commission), appointed by Governor Sandoval, has done the exact opposite today,” he said. “In a similar situation in Wisconsin, the commission acted without evidence and attempted to eliminate the solar industry. TASC sued and TASC won, and TASC expects to do the same here.”

There are an estimated 17,000 net metering customers in Nevada.

SolarCity’s Rive said of those customers, “Most disturbing is the PUC’s decision to retroactively sabotage existing solar customers’ investments by changing the rules on them. The Nevada government encouraged these people to go solar with financial incentives and pro-solar policies, and now the same government is punishing them for their decision with new costs they couldn’t have foreseen. These actions are certainly unethical, unprecedented, and possibly unlawful.” Actually, NV Energy did not initially propose to make the changes retroactive. That came from the PUC staff.

Net metering customer Louise Helton told the Las Vegas newspaper the rate change will cost her more than $600 a year and will add more than $12,000 to the cost of her solar system over the useful life of the system.

This is what happens when the state picks winners and losers and keeps changing the rulebook.

NV Energy is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which cut nearly 10 percent of its Nevada jobs after acquiring the company in 2013.

It is all about jobs, right?

(Disclosure: This writer is a net metering customer of NV Energy.)

A version of this column appears this week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel, the Lincoln County Record and the Sparks Tribune — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Update: On Wednesday the PUC posted a 104-page filing that outlines the new net metering tariffs it plans to impose. It immediately raises the connection fee for the residential and small business owners of solar panels from $12.75 to $17.90 today and to $38.51 in 2020.

It immediately cuts the credit for each kWh of power uploaded to the grid from 11 cents to 9 cents and slashes it to 2.6 cents in 2020, half the daily levelized rate NV Energy says it pays for wholesale power now. And never mind that the power is uploaded in the heat of the day when wholesale power costs many times more.

A back of the napkin calculation suggests that new rates will add about $60 to $70 to a net metering bill for a 5-kilowatt array by 2020, wiping out more than two-thirds of the monthly savings or more.

By 2020 some owners of older solar panel arrays, which lose generating power over time, might have a liability instead of an asset on their hands, costing more to haul the panels to the dump than they save on power bills.

Yes, the standard net metering contract contains this clause: “Utility’s distribution tariffs may be amended by the PUCN at any time.” Who could have anticipated this kind of bait and switch when the powers that be were all preaching green energy all the time to save the planet?


There is plenty of money for Nevada lawmakers to spend and here are places to cut

You could hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth radiating out of Carson City all across the sagebrush-dotted terrain this past week when the Economic Forum forecast that the state would collect a paltry $6.33 billion in general fund revenues in the coming two years. State agencies had given the governor a list of expenditures they think they must have totaling $7.7 billion.

The governor immediately bemoaned the fact the state’s tax structure is inadequate to keep up with the demands of our changing economy and increasing population.

There were murmurs about the need for tax hikes from Democrats and tax reform from Republicans, both meaning more money taken from the citizens and given to the bureaucrats.

So, how bad is it? That $6.33 billion revenue forecast is up from the Economic Forum forecast of $5.8 billion in revenue two years ago. That is a 9 percent increase.

Nevada’s population grew by 2.5 percent from 2011 to 2013. Nationally, inflation has increased since 2012 by 3.4 percent. Social Security beneficiaries are getting only a 3.2 percent increase in monthly checks over this year and next. Thus, 9 percent is enough to cover both population growth and inflation.

It would also be helpful to note that the 2012 forecast was a bit of a lowball and the actual two-year revenue is closer to $6.27 billion. What’re the odds the same thing will happen with this forecast?

The Economic Forum was created by the Legislature in 1993 to keep the governor and lawmakers from making wildly optimistic revenue predictions and then having to scramble to amend for their excessive spending. These early December forecasts are used by the governor to prepare a budget — with or without tax hikes or extensions. On May 1 the Economic Forum will release its final official revenue estimate and that is what the Legislature must use to balance general fund revenues and expenditures for the next two years.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has already told the state agencies to pare back their budget requests.

Meanwhile, everyone is clamoring for more education funding because the state ranks 45th in the nation in K-12 spending.

Where can the state possibly find more money for education without raising taxes?

End the prevailing wage law that basically forces contractors on state and local government projects to pay what amounts to union scale. That’s $1 billion a year right there.

Stop the handouts by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to attract new companies that just compete with existing firms.

Be less generous with tax breaks. The state allowed $3.7 billion in tax breaks in the past biennium, and that was before the $1.3 billion in tax giveaways for a proposed Tesla Motors battery plant were doled out.

Cut back on Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare. End binding arbitration for public employee unions. Reform overly generous public employee pensions. Slow the growth in public employee salaries, which exceed the national average. Toughen welfare qualification requirements. Cut the number of state occupational license boards. Acquire federal land for state and private use. The Nevada Public Land Management Task Force estimated acquiring 4 million acres of federal land would add $114 million to state coffers, and adding 48 million acres would add $1.5 billion.

But above all, enact regulatory and tax policies that encourage private economic investment and job growth, which will increase wealth, which will increase tax revenues, just as it did back in the boom days before the recession.

Are Nevada’s economic development efforts inconsistent and unfair?

Earlier this month, there was a big ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Las Vegas office of SolarCity, which was enticed to open here with a $1.2 million grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).

At about the same time, GOED announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Province of Alberta, Canada, to collaborate on developing unmanned aerial systems, commonly called drones. Tom Wilczek, aerospace and defense industry specialist for GOED, said the state is applying for an FAA site designation to research and develop drones and “place us squarely in the global market as the leader in this field.”

But you never hear about the ones that get away, as reported in this week’s column, available online at The Ely Times and Elko Daily Free Press.

World Surveillance Group Inc. (WSGI) — a company that designs and builds unmanned aerial vehicles, both drones and blimps, the very thing GOED claimed to be targeting — nibbled at the idea of relocating from Florida to Nevada, but never got hooked or reeled in.

Barry Plans, who handles government affairs and is project manager for WSGI, said the firm plans to open a manufacturing facility for one of its line of  blimps called Blimp in a Box, which would immediately hire 100 workers.

“It can actually see dirt that has been turned over within the past two weeks, looking for IEDs (improvised explosive devices) … is why the Army wanted it like now,” Plans said.

Image from WSGI website

Image from WSGI website

He said the blimps also could be used for border security, and the company is talking a couple of countries about using them to monitor territorial fishing waters to detect foreign trawlers.

“Some of the things that Nevada has that we liked is the fact that we were there before. We were there flying at Mercury, even though I was stepping over rattlesnake holes …” Plans said.

He called the GOED in May but it took a week to reach anyone. That person said he would send information, but Plans never got anything. He called back and left a message. Then the representative left Plans a message saying he was busy with the Legislature.

Finally, the company set up a conference call with GOED officials on June 14.  “Then nothing for two, three, four weeks …” Plans remarked.

No other state showed the lack of interest coming out of Nevada, Plans said.

“We were invited to Texas twice. Not only did they have their entire board at a meeting and we basically described who we were and what we did. They drove us all around the state and flew us to different places to say, ‘Look, these are the communities that we feel you would be best suited for and this is what we are going to do for you.” Houston, for example, has the Johnson Space Center.

Earlier this month, Plans sent an email saying, “WSGI is no longer interested in Nevada.”

Jennifer Cooper, communications director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, conceded there may have been some missed connections by both parties. “GOED works very hard on every lead, big or small, to strengthen Nevada’s economic base and we will continue to do everything within our reach to create a positive and attractive environment for businesses to expand in Nevada.”

Frankly, this bidding war between the states has never been proven to show a positive return on investment and many economists call it a zero-sum game of corporate redistributionism — giving some taxpayers a tax break, or even cash, at the expense of other taxpayers.

Read the entire column at Ely or Elko websites.