Thursday, September 11, 2014

Not. So. Fast.

Now, it's getting really interesting. Last night, we heard some more about the big move Switch is making in Carson City during the special session of the Nevada Legislature that Tesla initially thought it had all to itself.

Whoops. Apparently, a few legislators may actually be taking Steve Sebelius' advice to heart. Might this be music to Switch's ears?

Not so fast. SB 1 finally dropped last night, and the long awaited Senate bill requires at least $3.5 billion investment in this state before the state government starts offering tax incentives. The bill also requires at least 50% of the workers hired under this program to be Nevada residents. And the bill requires a $22 average hourly wage and health insurance benefits for factory workers.

So that leaves Switch up in the air for now. However, that also leaves the Nevada AFL-CIO as a possible "fly in the ointment". Nevada AFL-CIO Executive Director Danny Thompson has already said he also wants guarantees of fair wages for construction workers alongside guarantees that Tesla will hire local construction workers. We'll have to see how the Legislature assuages AFL's concerns.

But at least for now, it looks like a number of legislators are at least taking some time to digest this. And yes, they're looking at related issues like Switch, the best interest of Nevada workers, the film industry tax credits (that Governor Brian Sandoval [R] wants slashed by over 80%), and public education funding. Isn't this what so many of us were asking them to do? Isn't this even what a certain media pundit was asking for on the eve of #Teslamania?

So why is that media pundit now attacking certain legislators over taking their time to consider this proposal? The State of Nevada may actually end up with a $120 million deficit by the end of the year... And that doesn't even count the overcrowding and under-staffing issues plaguing Clark County School District (CCSD). Can we now afford to hurry up and pass something that pokes yet another hole into the budget while making a big bet on a company that demanded all these tax breaks to build a factory in Northern Nevada?

Not. So. Fast. Those are the three words Nevada legislators need to keep in mind today. While we understand the urge to hurry up, resume fundraising, and bask in the glow of #Teslamania, there are too many important questions that shouldn't be ignored just because one company wants an enormous sweetheart deal. Is this truly a fair deal? Is this a good deal for Nevada workers? Is this a good deal for Nevada schools? And will this deal break Nevada's budget?

Not. So. Fast. As we've said before, there are plenty of merits to Tesla's big move to Nevada. But must we break our bank in order to subsidize their business expenditures?

No comments:

Post a Comment