Clark County gets it right

Geoffrey Lawrence

According to an article in last Wednesday's edition of the Las Vegas Sun, Clark County is considering disbandment of its redevelopment agency.  The County would reportedly divert the $10 million in annual property taxes that it currently collects to the state's general fund.

According to the Sun:

A person knowledgeable about the inner workings of Clark County government said there is more to the county's move than just redirecting money by pulling the plug on an agency that hasn't accomplished much, however. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, that person said state legislators will be looking at the caches of money collected by local redevelopment agencies as revenue sources that should be put back into general tax fund. Knowing that, the county is doing what it can to show state lawmakers it is acting responsibly with its redevelopment dollars.

While Clark County is "acting responsibly" by disbanding an agency that actively promotes corporate welfare and can foster a culture of corruption, the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency (LVRDA) continues to charge ahead with plans to force taxpayers to subsidize a new palace for city officials.  Details of this and other boondoggles that taxpayers have been forced into funding by the LVRDA are detailed in NPRI's recent report, "Rolling the Dice on the Taxpayers' Dime."

If the Sun's source is accurate, then state lawmakers are right to question the spending done by redevelopment agencies in Nevada.  Redevelopment agencies systematically shuffle tax dollars away from school districts, police departments, fire departments and the like.  This often forces taxpayers to make up for these lost revenues through higher taxes—as is currently being considered by policymakers across the state.  Spending by redevelopment agencies is often wasteful or unnecessary in the best of cases and, in the worst of cases, may well be outright corrupt.

Clark County's decision to disband its redevelopment agency should be commended.  Moreover, state lawmakers should act with haste to reform the state's redevelopment model and eliminate wasteful or corrupt spending by other redevelopment agencies throughout the state.

Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.