Wednesday, May 8, 2013


What a day we saw in Carson City. Yesterday, we saw some bizarre misplaced priorities on display there. We saw shock & awe at the Nevada Legislature as actor & filmmaker Nicholas Cage made a surprise appearance there.

“I know investors around the world. I could give you names. Give me six months and I’ll give you a list of names of folks who would love to come to Nevada to make a movie,” he said.

Cage was testifying in favor of Senate Bill 165, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Ford. The measure would provide qualified film producers transferable tax credits worth 20 percent of production costs. Additional tax credits would be given for hiring Nevadans. [...]

“I’m trying to make an investment in the culture of our state,” Cage said. “It’s not just a financial thing; I’m trying to make an investment in the perception of Nevada. I’m someone who travels the world quite often. I’m at work in different parts of the world. I’ve met many people around the world, and I want them to go to the movies and see how beautiful our state is, because it actually works." [...]

Carole Vilardo, president of the Nevada Taxpayers Association, testified against the bill, saying it doesn’t make sense for lawmakers searching for new revenue for education and other services to grant tax credits.

She also criticized the language of the bill itself.

“This is totally open-ended where the laundry list of everything in the world would be open for exemptions,” Vilardo said.

If enacted, SB 165 will offer tax credits for film production here in Nevada. That includes movies and TV shows. At the surface, this looks like interesting job creation legislation. And isn't that what the Legislature is supposed to do?

Honestly, this doesn't seem like a completely bad idea in and of itself. Yet with that being said, SB 165 does come with a $35 million price tag. And it seems so awkward that Nevada may be willing to toss $35 million to the entertainment industry, yet our state can't take care of our own. We're even risking costly law suits because of that.

As we discussed yesterday, something looks wrong here. Why does our state continue to hand out corporate welfare endless tax breaks in hopes of luring this or that company here, yet our "leaders" continually claim "we can't afford" to mend our tattered & torn public infrastructure? What's more important to economic development than good schools, good health care, and good transportation options?

In and of itself, SB 165 doesn't seem so bad. But in examining the big picture, we must ask ourselves what our priorities are. Are we providing our kids with quality public education? Are we ensuring everyone can access the health care one needs? Are we creating the kind of environment that businesses will want to grow in? Are we taking care of our own?

How has the mound of corporate welfare given to Apple helped our state? How has the stockpile of corporate welfare offered to multinational mining corporations helped our state? And how has the sweetheart deal offered to big box retailers and other multinational corporations profiting off our state helped?

Think about it. We must rethink our priorities.

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