You gotta spend money to waste money

Patrick Gibbons

Las Vegas CityLife recently printed an article on how to produce $1 billion in revenue for the state.  Most of it would result from legalizing certain industries like prostitution, online gambling, marijuana and gay marriage.  But what kind of philosophy justifies legalizing something just for the sake of taxing it?  Something should be legal if it expands the bounds of non-violent human cooperation, not because it allows policymakers to blow more money without any accountability.  But we digress.

CityLife does offer one very interesting idea:  terminate the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and sweep its $224 million fund to other portions of the government, then sell off the convention center to the highest bidder (read: privatize).  It's interesting to see a left-wing publication like CityLife champion this sweeping reform.  Of course, NPRI has recently looked into questionable LVCVA financial practices, and has posted a report on its findings.

There is one "reform" that the CityLife article suggests could generate tons of revenue, but it seems very pie-in-the-sky-ish.  The article suggests a $20 billion to $40 billion investment in green-energy industries might come to Nevada (a huge sum of money), which a greenie claims will generate as many as 9,000 new jobs. That's about $4.4 million for each job created – pretty expensive.

And what about Nevada's tax-revenue take?  The article suggests we could collect the modified business tax (a payroll tax) on all the new green-energy employees.  Let's over-optimistically assume the average green-energy job in Nevada will pay $100,000 a year (meaning Nevada spends a whole bunch of money to attract new rich people into town, not providing jobs for existing residents).  That's $900 million in payroll that is taxed at 0.63 percent – meaning the state, after all the hoopla, will collect an underwhelming $5.6 million a year.


The CityLife headline over its piece assures us that, "It's Not a Fantasy."