The Northern Nevada Development Authority is claiming a total of $1 billion in economic impact across its five-county service area.
NNDA Executive Director Rob Hooper made the announcement along with Gov. Brian Sandoval at a news conference on the Capitol steps Monday.
He said the NNDA has helped bring some 17 companies and 4,000 jobs to Northern Nevada over the past year, and he praised Sandoval for helping with that effort by meeting with company executives interested in relocating to Nevada.
Danny Campos of the NNDA said that number is an estimate of the total economic impact those companies have from the salaries they pay to the equipment, buildings and materials they purchase and the indirect impact those purchases and employee spending have on Northern Nevada’s economy.
“You’ve got to stop and pause for a moment when you hear the word ‘billion,’” said Sandoval.
He said that in addition to Nevada’s tax burden, cost of doing business, available work force, a community college system willing to work with businesses and favorable lifestyle, the state’s tax incentives are key to persuading those businesses to move here.
He said, however, to get those incentives, businesses can’t just bring in minimum-wage jobs.
“If they come in with a lot of low-paying jobs, they’re not going to get those incentives,” he said.
The average wage paid by those new companies, he said, is about $21 an hour, but that includes everyone from the CEO to the janitor.
He also pointed out that this area is just a day’s trucking time from anywhere in the West, so those businesses can continue to service their customers across the west.
Sandoval conceded that the state’s K-12 education system is still a challenge in luring businesses but said “people were very heartened by the added money we put in there.” He said the education budget is $500 million more than it was two years ago.
Sandoval said he believes a “supermajority” of the jobs created by those businesses were filled by Nevadans, not imported workers.