Letters for September 25, 2014
Damn that Dennis
Re “Shakedown” (cover story, Sept. 11):
I appreciate the willingness to look at the opposite side, but it would have been nice if that was done in a more balanced manner. The piece followed the Fox News structure of have an opinion and using arguments to support it vs. journalistic standards of reporting all details. This story and the comments (after the first one) make it sound as if the taxpayers are writing Tesla a check out of our treasury. We are not. We are agreeing to a specific set of tax deductions. So it’s money which might have gone into the treasury, but won’t. The contractors, employees and vendors Tesla pays will add their taxes to the treasury.
The reason so many states were so hungry for this plant is that it is an export industry and thus an economic foundation. The plant is funded with national and international investment money and will be selling what it produces to a worldwide customer base. Over the next 20 years, dozens of companies who are part of the Tesla supply/sales line will move here, and hundreds of companies that are involved in similar technologies will move closer simply for the logistics and conveniences. That’s not to mention the value of the workforce being trained in industry which will result in a local mindbloom from ex-Tesla employees starting their own company with X, Y, Z invention. The 22,000-plus number of final jobs from the economic impact of this plant is not a guess … as long as Tesla gave real numbers it is science.
We have clear studies about how economic impacts work. 22,000 people making avg ~$25k/year more is $550 million dollars in additional taxable activity like buying stuff (sales tax) or buying homes (property tax). Five states didn’t go into a bidding war because they were stupid. They went into a bidding war because history is filled with examples of what happens to a local economy when a large export industry manufacturer arrives. In the vast majority of cases the local economy blooms. Did the state make mistakes, take shortcuts, and engage in questionable backroom deals? We are talking politics—of course such things were done, and good job reporting some of them. Just please don’t spit on the good stuff as part of revealing the challenges.
Editor’s note: Nearly all the welfare given Tesla was in the form of abatements, not deductions.
Damn those statists
Re “Betting on the come line” (Left foot forward, Sept. 11):
It’s an interesting environment to live in when an entrepreneur who has built successful ventures like PayPal and SpaceX gets a pile of vitriol from the left when he successfully makes a deal to expand his “green” business. This is the difficulty with statist philosophy.
Elon Musk already operates under California environmental law which has probably slowed the ability for his company to innovate at the speed it is truly capable of because of an over abundance of tax-revenue-driven environmental legislation that even environmentalists claim is not as effective as it should be—the California Environmental Quality Act, for one.
The fact that Nevada has provided a new opportunity for Tesla to create new and innovative battery technology inside its borders should be something celebrated by all sides of our political spectrum, as we have had the country’s most dismal economy since the ’08 collapse. It’s not surprising that business owners who will gain the fringe benefits of a massive project to improve infrastructure are the ones being given harsh treatment by this column. $50 million dollars in public to private stimulus sounds like Democratic economic strategy 101. If legislators had a problem with brothel owners in Nevada they could have easily pulled a Raggio and burned them all to the ground (allegedly).
This so-called “gamble” is being undertaken by a company that pulled in nearly a quarter billion dollars in its IPO. I predict that we will gain tremendously from this venture, but only if we can avoid so much nay-saying about the murky future of the company. Avoiding risk is not a guarantee of safety. Increased sales tax revenue from 6,500 wage earners, not including the wages of workers employed to build new infrastructure, will be a shot in the arm to our community, including our schools.
I would theorize that a lack of challenging opportunities in Nevada has led to the minimal amount of emphasis placed on education. It’s hard to head in any direction when there’s no where to go. The mere presence of the company and its jobs will inspire parents and students to consider STEM education. If students have to move out of state to receive their education, at least they have a reason to come back. How about we all embrace this opportunity and responsibly move forward with a project driven by innovation and sustainability?
Damn those giveaways
Re “Shakedown” (cover story, Sept. 11):
Thanks, Dennis Myers, for this incisive report based on our state’s historic record of putting corporate profits ahead of the needs of the people. We don’t want to kill the Tesla deal—as if there was ever a chance of that happening. But we want to make damn sure the public understands how hosed we got, and how we can create an uprising among right and left to prevent such an abuse of the public treasury from happening again.
The deal stinks in so many ways, from the $43 million gift to the developer to the $195 million tax cash windfall for Tesla to the fact that the governor’s office can waive any requirement for transparency, judicial review, or even the 50 percent quota of Nevada hires. Tesla will be a tax credit capture zone, and can even get tax credits for any of its suppliers, such as Manpower. That’s money that won’t go to our already starved schools. (So vote yes on Question 3 in November and make corporations pay!) This deal demeans Nevada. But as long as we have reporters like Dennis Myers telling the truth, we have a chance to fight back and build a state that attracts great jobs like Tesla without prostituting ourselves.
Damn those typos
Re “150 things for 150 years” (cover story, Sept. 18):
Thanks for tossing together the “150 Things for 150 Years” trivia feast on Nevada! I circled lots of entries to check out referenced books, movies and songs I hadn’t known about.
No list is complete without eliciting peevish quibbles:
• No. 2, on The Misfits: Marilyn Monroe’s character doesn’t toss her wedding ring into the Truckee.
• No. 32, on The Shootist: It was released in 1976 (your typo said “1986”).
• No. 144: You call The Killers a “mediocre” band. The Killers have sold an estimated 25 million albums worldwide, and have six or seven times that many video views. “Somebody Told Me” has more than 45 million views — and the visceral Richard Cheese cover has nearly 90,000. Whatever The Killers are — bombastic, overly earnest, offensive to hipsters — “mediocre” is the wrong word.
Editor’s note: We also put Bonanza on the air 10 years too early, in 1950 instead of 1960. Sorry about that and all errors.