RENO — Small businesses are the backbone of Nevada’s economy, providing more than half the jobs in the state, Gov. Brian Sandoval told more than 500 people at the annual Governor’s Conference on Small Business.
That’s why his administration is focusing its economic development efforts on them, he told the business operators at Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort.
“We’ve created Nevada’s first Economic Development plan and because of that, thousands of jobs have come here,” Sandoval said.
He said the list of companies considering a move to Nevada is now 10 pages, “single-spaced,” and more are calling every day.
The office of economic development recently announced two more companies are coming to Northern Nevada, bringing some 300 jobs, Sandoval said.
“The best news is these jobs are going to go to people who are unemployed right now, and they’re going to be buying goods and services from you,” he said.
Sandoval said that since taking office three years ago, he has frozen passage of new regulations, ordering agencies to change or eliminate rules that stifle business, and eliminated the payroll tax for 74 percent of Nevada businesses.
The economic-development efforts are working, he said. Sandoval added that he was criticized when he promised to add 50,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, but “we’re probably going to hit that at the end of this year, a year early.”
He said that although Nevada was one of the hardest-hit states during the recession, it is recovering and its economy is growing.
“Nevada is getting its swagger back,” Sandoval said.
But he said he is concerned about the business-margins tax the state teachers union has put on next year’s ballot.
“I personally believe it could be extremely harmful to business in the state, because you could have to pay it even if you don’t make a profit,” he said.
Sandoval was keynote speaker for the luncheon meeting of the conference, the first time the small-business conference has been held in Reno.