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Welcome to the “Silver”, er “Sucker State”

Fellow Nevadans,

I recently requested a performance audit of the Governor’s Office for Economic Development (GOED). I’m looking for specific information behind the tax incentives offered to Tesla and Faraday Futures.

That’s why information revealed in a recent Pew Charitable Trust study is not surprising. Nevada’s rating reflected our failure to track tax incentives through a regular evaluation plan.

GOED has awarded billions of dollars in tax incentives since the committee’s creation in 2011. No one knows how they evaluate businesses who apply for incentives or if there’s even standard evaluation processes in place.

Because there is little to no transparency, GOED gives companies big tax breaks, most recently with Apple and their proposal to build a warehouse in downtown Reno. GOED handed Apple a break on all but 2 percent of sales tax, and building in downtown Reno may allow them an additional break of 1.5 percent. After all’s said and done, Apple will end up paying a 0.5 percent sales tax where the Washoe County’s sales tax rate is 8.265 percent.

How badly does Apple need these tax breaks? This past week Apple announced that the company’s cash reserves had swollen to $257 billion, most of which are managed here. Assuming Apple earns 3% on their money, that’s roughly equal to $7.7 billion—about the same size as Governor Sandoval’s 2017-2019 biennium budget. Holy Bank Heist, Batman!

This lack of oversight that allows companies such large breaks is little more than gross negligence from the representatives we trust to responsibly spend our tax dollars.

Welcome to the “Sucker State.”

Sincerely,

Dan Schwartz

Nevada State Treasurer

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