Clark County irritated at LVRDA

The Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency (LVRDA) is trying to create a tourism improvement district within the city's redevelopment zone.  That would allow the LVRDA to issue sales tax anticipated revenue (STAR) bonds in order to provide corporate welfare subsidies to private developers. 

The bonds would be paid back by diverting 75 percent of sales taxes within the tourism improvement district away from other state and local government coffers.  It would effectively allow city officials to appropriate money that would otherwise go to the county, the school district, the police department, the fire department and the state and use that money to provide "incentives" to their friends in real estate development.  At a time when state and local governments are facing serious fiscal difficulties, the use of STAR bonds by the LVRDA would be particularly egregious.

The LVRDA already uses tax-increment financing to siphon property taxes away from other governmental services.  Use of STAR bonding would simply give the LVRDA another funding source to build things like mob museums and palatial new city halls and to give handouts to private developers—all while depriving legitimate government services of financial support.

Clark County officials have now taken notice of the fact that the LVRDA is sticking it to them. They have recently criticized the LVRDA for depriving county government of tax revenue. Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani has accused the LVRDA of trying to "double-dip" by trying to take sales taxes as well as property taxes.  Hmmm, sounds familiar.

Commissioner Giunchigliani has further acknowledged that if the projects the LVRDA wishes to fund were truly worthwhile, "then the developer would build it without these incentives."  Apparently, she thinks that the LVRDA's subsidies simply amount to corporate welfare.  Hmmm, that sounds familiar, too.

Perhaps if more state and local policymakers took note of the way in which tax dollars are being wasted in Nevada, they wouldn't claim to need additional revenues.

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