Governor to support regulatory capture

Geoffrey Lawrence

Ed Vogel reports today on a proposal to have the gaming industry fund the Gaming Control Board’s $63 million budget directly. MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman’s comments appear to be supportive of the idea and who’s surprised? What regulated industry would not want to exert greater control over the agency charged with regulating it?

The governor’s spokesman, Dan Burns, indicated that “the governor would support any fees, taxes or revenue increases that are backed by the affected businesses.”

Doubtlessly, lawmakers are pushing this idea because they’re trying to shake down everyone they can for money. However, regardless of the state’s fiscal position, this is simply bad public policy. This proposal would create a huge potential for regulatory capture.

The solution that should be explored for the upcoming special session, but so far has not been, is to pare back inflation-adjusted, per capita state spending to levels that existed just six years ago. It seems that lawmakers and the governor are willing to implement what is obviously bad policy in order to avoid cutting back the growth in spending.

Once again, had TASC been in place, there would be no shortfall! Lawmakers created this crisis.

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.