I knew they would. I figured the Republicans would lead the way – and they did. But they cooked their own goose in the process!
The Nevada legislature approved the $750 million stadium deal to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas – the same Raiders that have moved to LA and then back to Oakland.
The Nevada legislature approved a $1.17 billion bill to fund a football stadium and improvements to the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday.
The corporate subsidies assuredly mean both higher taxes for Nevadans and the loss of the Raiders for Oakland. The Senate approved the bill 16-5 earlier this week, the assembly passed it 28-13 on Friday, and the Senate then unanimously approved the assembly’s amendments immediately thereafter. Republican Governor Brian Sandoval looks to sign the bill next week, most likely Monday, in a ceremony including Raiders owner Mark Davis.
I’ll have some names for you – heroes and goats – but let’s start with the statement of Governor Sandoval:
“I would like to thank the members of the Nevada State Senate and Assembly for asking the tough questions and for their thoughtful deliberations. This week, legislators representing north and south, urban and rural, came together to prove we are one Nevada. It is truly exciting to see our gaming industry, labor unions, and small businesses come together with broad support for these important projects,” said Governor Brian Sandoval. “Nevada has a past unlike any other state, but it is the ability to write a new narrative and redefine our state’s image that makes us so unique and so capable of innovating once again through the new Nevada. This is the beginning of the next chapter of southern Nevada’s continued dominance in tourism, conventions and hospitality and presents an exciting opportunity for UNLV. I’m proud of the work that has been done to create these possibilities for Nevada’s future and the next phase of our state’s evolution.
As you shall see – the solons in the Silver State did not ask enough tough questions or deliberate well enough to be truly thoughtful. For here is the complete proclamation of Governor Sandoval to initiate the special session of the Nevada legislature and below is the operative paragraphs (emphasis added):
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BRIAN SANDOVAL, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Nevada, do hereby convene the Nevada State Legislature into a special session to begin at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, October 10, 2016. During this special session, I ask the Legislature to consider the following:1. Imposing a lodging tax on the gross receipts from the rental of transient lodging to finance the expansion and the renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
2. Providing a method to finance the construction and the operations of a National Football League stadium or a college football stadium project in Clark County (The county where Las Vegas resides in), including the imposition of a lodging tax on the gross receipts from the rental of transient lodging, and the creation of a Public Stadium Authority Board to manage the operations of such a facility.
3. Authorizing the Clark County Board of Commissioners to increase the sales and use tax in order to employ and equip additional law enforcement officers, including a means for distributing tax proceeds within Clark County.
It is the bolded third paragraph I found most interesting. For the politicians in Nevada might have added the authority for local officials to increase taxes for more police to sweeten the stadium deal but they sunk themselves!
For the logic is inescapable – Either
a) Clark County does not need more tax money for police – if they didn’t then the tax increase was NOT NEEDED. Just that simple.
OR the alternative is worse:
b) Clark County really did need more money for law enforcement AND they increased a tax they already have (the sales and use tax) ON TOP OF the NEW Hotel tax passed to build the stadium! If you need more cops, forgive the term, then chuck the stadium and use the hotel tax (or the sales tax increase) to pay for the police instead! (To paraphrase St. Paul, I am speaking like a fool here – I do not assume the money for law enforcement is needed except for this example!)
This is similar to the Richmond City Council and Mayor spending money on the bike race and then wanting to raise taxes to pay for schools!
So either it’s more money for the Thin Blue Line or money for the Stadium.
Gov. Sandoval commended the legislature for as he put it “asking the tough questions” and engaging in “thoughtful deliberations” on this question.
Here’s a tough question: Why are we establishing a NEW TAX for a luxury – a stadium – for a team that might not come or might not be approved to come to Vegas (There will be no more NFL sports betting allowed in Sin City after the Raiders come to town) or a team that has left one town to come to your town – when you need more police in Clark County so much that you have to authorize local government to RAISE an existing tax to pay for the new officers and equipment?
That might be a tough question but the answer is easy: NO to stadium and you use the hotel tax money or the increased sales/use taxes to pay for the officers and equipment. (The real tough question is: Does the police really NEED more money? Government tends to use crises to justify increasing taxes but never cut waste such as exorbitant salaries for top personnel.)
This whole thing is a bit like chasing another man’s wife (other than the moral aspect to it) to leave him and take up with you – do you want a girl who you lured away from another guy? Better hope she does not decide there is a newer more sexy guy down the street or in another town in the future – especially if the love affair goes south.
So back to the Reno newspaper article and it filled with sick and awful stuff. Let’s start with the Democrat solon who voted for the stadium to prevent working people from killing themselves, that’s right, suicide:
Democratic Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, who voted in favor of the legislation, delivered an emotional speech about fellow laborers he knows who have killed themselves because of unemployment.
These projects, Carrillo said, will give Nevada laborers much-needed employment stability.
“When we hit that button green or red, we’re changing lives,” Carrillo said.
And he’s not afraid of any backlash for his “yes” vote. “If I don’t get elected, guess what? I get my life back.”
Let’s please give Assemblyman Carrillo his life back right away at the next election!
Leaders in both parties went along – I guess another example of “bipartisanship” where as usual the taxpayers/people get screwed!
Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, a Republican, said he thought there was “great leadership” in both houses during the session. Roberson thanked Minority Leader Aaron Ford for “being such a gentleman” in his final remarks on the Senate floor.
But Roberson said in an interview that he was disappointed in many of the Assembly Democrats for voting “no” on the bill.
“For Assembly Democrats to turn their backs on all of those people who are out of work and need jobs, it’s disappointing,” Roberson said.
If there were great leadership, this would have been defeated!
There was some principled opposition (emphasis added):
Elliot Anderson, the first to speak after the Assembly voted, objected to several moments this week — lawmakers clapping after pro-stadium presentations Monday, the Senate approving a resolution to waive its ethical provisions Tuesday and a last-minute report from the Nevada Department of Transportation about necessary roadway improvements for the stadium project.
“We put on this show and it looks horrible,” he said. “It just continues to give people no faith in us as policymakers … I think a lot of us are going to consider what our next steps are after this process.”
Sounds like a pep rally to me for a bad project! Maybe THIS is why they cheered!
And the police claimed they did need the extra funds:
Earlier Thursday, both houses of the Legislature approved a bill that allows the Clark County Commission to raise the sales tax to bolster the number of police officers in Southern Nevada.
In the end, the lawmakers, buoyed by law enforcement officials’ pleas to boost police funding or risk jeopardizing public safety, won out. The Senate unanimously approved the bill after just two and a half hours of presentations and discussion.
The vote is easy for me – if the police need the money – not sure of that based on the article – vote for the police and AGAINST the stadium. But I’m not elected.
Here’s the heroes:
Democrats Elliot Anderson, Nelson Araujo, Teresa Benitez-Thompson, Maggie Carlton, Olivia Diaz, Amber Joiner, Dina Neal, Mike Sprinkle and Heidi Swank all opposed the bill, along with their Republican colleagues Ira Hansen, James Oscarson, Shelly Shelton and Robin Titus.
The Senate had approved the full bill earlier in the week, in a 16-5 vote taken just before sundown Tuesday. Democrats Ruben Kihuen, Julia Ratti and Tick Segerblom and Republicans Pete Goicoechea and Don Gustavson voted in opposition.
And here’s a huge goat: John Moore – the Libertarian (?) Assemblyman who voted YES for the stadium and YES for the tax authority for more police too! I do not know how Moore can square these votes with his slogan:
When it comes to government, “less is Moore”
Maybe it’s a misprint! It escapes me how a Libertarian can vote YES for the new tax to the stadium and then ANOTHER new tax for the police. Maybe he’ll contact this blog and explain it to me.