When incentives aren’t needed
Lyon County certainly can’t be considered anti-growth.
With affordable land for both business and housing, the county’s population has been increasing by a healthy 6-7 percent for at least a half-dozen years now.
Fernley’s industrial park is booming, and the Dayton corridor east of Carson City is the best area to hunt for new homes that young families can afford. With the Asamera industrial park poised to blossom in Central Lyon, there’s no end in sight.
So why would Lyon County want to give away tax revenues in order to attract more industry?
That’s exactly the question Lyon commissioners have for the Nevada Commission of Economic Development as the commission processes two requests for tax breaks.
One is from Quebecor Printing, a giant industrial plant in Fernley, which stands to save $262,000 to $339,000 over 10 years on personal property tax for installing $12.6 million in equipment.
The second request is from Medallic Art, a Dayton firm, which could save $27,000 a year for two years on a sales-tax break for $615,000 in new equipment.
No one can fault the companies for taking advantage of incentives offered by the state. It’s money there for the taking. And there’s no question the companies’ expansions will help the local economy, firm up the tax base generally and provide well-paying jobs.
The objections raised by the Lyon commissioners are, however, valid.
First, they have little say in the process of giving away their own revenues.
Second, not everybody qualifies for the tax breaks. It only goes to the big players.
Third, growth carries with it expenses for the county. Lyon has struggled for years to pave roads and provide other basic services. Officials are struggling now to come up with a way to pay for something as simple as animal control.
State tax-incentive programs should be reserved for counties that have grown stagnant. Or, if state officials think they are such a good idea, they should compensate the counties.
Nevada’s $3 billion budget is much better equipped to absorb such incentives than is Lyon’s budget of $20 million or so.