NPRI releases economic development study charting 'Path to Prosperity' for Nevada

By Victor Joecks
  • Tuesday, January 15, 2013

For Immediate Release
Contact Victor Joecks, (702) 222-0642

LAS VEGAS — If Nevada really wants a robust and flourishing economy, it needs to streamline state and local regulations, reduce and eliminate state and local licensing fees and filing requirements, ease restrictions that discourage hiring and eliminate government-granted business subsidies.

Those are just some of the findings in “The Path to Sustainable Prosperity,” a new study on economic development by the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

Written by Geoffrey Lawrence, NPRI’s deputy policy director, with a foreword by William Weidner, former member of the Nevada Board of Economic Development, the study comprehensively details how government actions induce and worsen Nevada’s economic woes.

The white paper also shows how removing government barriers to entrepreneurship leads to sound and sustainable prosperity.

“The true causes of the Great Recession are a series of government policy failings that led to a massive overinvestment in housing and construction industries,” said Lawrence. “Hence, the path to economic recovery does not lie in granting even more control to politicians.

“Economic progress has always resulted from the free exercise of individual initiative and private enterprise. ‘The Path to Sustainable Prosperity’ details many ways that Nevada governments interfere with private-sector job growth. It also offers specific suggestions for removing barriers to entrepreneurship — the only real route to long-term economic growth.

The study’s recommendations offer a clear contrast to the economic development plan that Gov. Brian Sandoval and legislative Democrats crafted in the 2011 session, allowing political appointees to give state money to favored corporations.

In his foreword, Weidner praises the alternatives offered by the report, writing, “As a member of Nevada’s recently created Board of Economic Development, it was my hope that we could produce a vision similar to the one presented here. The plan that was ultimately adopted by the Board, however, did not adequately emphasize the critical role of private entrepreneurship and outline a clear vision for how to facilitate its free exercise.

“It was my belief that we needed an objective analysis of what really caused Nevada’s economic collapse and a roadmap for building a sustainable economic future — exactly what has been produced here.

“That’s why I’m so pleased to present Nevadans with this vision for economic development in our state. Geoffrey Lawrence clearly outlines the unintended consequences of the acts of those outside of Nevada that caused the economic collapse and then articulates the various factors that influence the exercise of entrepreneurship and how that exercise might be improved in the Silver State to assure a more sustainable economic future.”

Released simultaneously with the study were case studies of two Nevada entrepreneurs, who relate their experiences of government’s negative impact on their efforts to grow their businesses.

One account features Amy Groves, owner of Nevada's Finest Properties, LLC, a real estate and HOA-management company, who has been in business for eight years. She pays over 30 different taxes, licenses and fees each year, just to stay in business.

“You have people leaving this industry because they can't afford all the regulations,” said Groves. “There are qualified people who could come from California and other states but they don't want to deal with all the local red tape.”

The study also dispels a number of myths about Nevada, such as that Nevada remains a low-tax state and is particularly business-friendly.

“Nevada ranks near the middle of all states in terms of per-capita tax collections and has the fourth most onerous licensing requirements in the entire country,” said Lawrence. “Elected officials, however, can fix these problems if they choose to. They simply need to limit government and cut back on red tape at both the state and local levels.

“By following the recommendations in ‘Path to Prosperity,’” he said, “lawmakers would make Nevada a business-friendly state in fact — and not just in myth.”

“The Path to Sustainable Prosperity” is available at

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