Its time to call your legislators!
The special legislative session in Carson City began yesterday and will continue at least through tonight as lawmakers consider a massive, $1.25 billion corporate subsidy package to entice the Tesla battery manufacturing plant to northern Nevada. Whether today’s actions will be an apology for a decision already made behind closed doors, or a real debate, remains to be seen.
Only two organizations, PLAN and the Nevada Policy Research Institute, publicly questioned the deal during public testimony. But just because we’re on the same side doesn’t mean the deal is good because it’s the middle position. Both left and right say this deal’s bad because it’s virtually UNFAIR and the taxpayers are going to pick up the bill for a private corporation’s shareholders.
Indeed, Good Jobs First has found serious deficiencies in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development report: “Growth induced by Tesla will drive a burden shift…in the absence of revenues from Tesla (which operates tax-free for 10 years), working families’ sales and property tax revenues will have to pick up the slack…Is Nevada paying Tesla what it would have done anyway?”
And, in the hoopla over Tesla, yesterday’s story showing we’re even more broke than previously thought got buried. Even if the so-called regressive sunset taxes are extended, Nevada still faces at least a $120 million deficit. And higher-than-expected enrollment in Clark County schools puts us in the hole an extra $60 million.
Given this, the windfall giveaway of $195 million to Tesla for transferable tax credits is even harder to swallow. And should low-income Nevadans really help subsidize Tesla’s power costs? Where will Nevada come up with the $43 million to give to the developer for his right of way and to build the new highway? Will Tesla pay prevailing wages?
There’s a disturbing atmosphere of “groupthink” pervading the building yesterday, as lawmakers and lobbyists are under incredible pressure to ratify the deal and adjourn as quickly as possible. Many are raising serious questions privately, but are are reluctant to go against the grain and voice them publicly. That’s where you come in.
What can you do?
You can go on the record by calling the Legislative Hotline today and voicing your concerns: (775) 684 -6800.
Thank you for all that you do, and for the great feedback we’ve received from our letter to legislators.