Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

Mining Industry Big Nevada Job Creator

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 10:15 am November 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A report released today shows that Nevada’s mining industry has accounted for 14 percent of jobs added statewide in the past year and 33 percent of jobs added statewide since the recession ended in June 2009.

Courtesy of Barrick Gold Corp.

The Nevada Mining Association announced the findings, which come from a recent study completed by Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis.

“While accounting for just 1 percent of Nevada employment and 5 percent of Nevada GDP, the mining industry was responsible for 33 percent of the jobs added in Nevada since the end of the recession,” said Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst for Applied Analysis.

“Furthermore, these were not jobs recovered that had been lost; rather, they represented real growth,” he said. “Industry representatives have indicated that there is unfulfilled demand for even more employees to join the industry.”

The report comes out ahead of the 2013 legislative session, where any discussion of raising tax revenues will likely include the mining industry. The industry was the subject of extensive hearings in 2011. Mining was also the focus this year of an initiative petition that would have allowed higher taxes to be imposed on the industry, but the proposal was withdrawn.

The Nevada Mining Association, in announcing the study, said in a news release that mining has helped foster low unemployment rates in many rural counties, including 4.9 percent in Esmeralda County, 5.4 percent in Lander County, 5.5 percent in Elko County, 5.9 percent in Humboldt County and 5.9 percent in Eureka County.

Nevada’s statewide jobless rate was 11.8 percent in September, the highest in the nation.

The association said the industry has added 1,200 jobs over the past 12 months, which represents an 11 percent increase in mining’s total workforce, and the number of Nevadans now directly employed in mining is more than 12,000, the association said.

The association in February 2012 estimated the industry would add 1,200 jobs this year, both in precious metal and industrial mineral production, after conducting an informal survey of members.

“These numbers support what the industry has known for some time,” said Tim Crowley, president of the Nevada Mining Association. “We have been adding jobs throughout the industry, and the Nevada Mining Association is seeing a record number of outside suppliers joining our membership ranks. The industry’s direct and indirect reach will only continue to grow and help Nevada recover in the coming years with several new projects set to begin operations.”

Nevada’s gold mines produced 5.3 million ounces of gold in 2010. Nevada is ranked as the fourth largest producer in the world.

Ryan Tells Sparks Crowd Nation Needs New Leadership

By Sean Whaley | 2:55 pm September 7th, 2012

SPARKS – Fresh on the heels of another disappointing jobs report, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan held a brief rally here today, telling a crowd of 2,500 at a local small business that President Obama needs to be replaced to get the country back on track.

“Are we going to stick with four more years of the same, of the same path? No,” Ryan said at the campaign event held at Peterbilt Truck Parts and Equipment. “Are we going to have a country in debt, in doubt, in decline? Or are we going to do what we need to do to get people back to work, to fix the mess in Washington, and to get this country back on the right track.”

Paul Ryan fires up the crowd at a rally today in Sparks. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

It was Ryan’s first visit to Northern Nevada as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Romney is expected  back in Reno on Tuesday for a National Guard convention.

President Obama is slated to visit Las Vegas on Wednesday as Democrats and Republicans fight to win the battleground state in the Nov. 6 general election.

Ryan wasted no time in bringing up the jobs report released today by the U.S. Department of Labor that showed the country saw only 96,000 jobs created in August, well below the 125,000 gain expected by Wall Street. The unemployment rate declined to 8.1 percent in August from 8.3 percent in July but the drop was attributed to more people giving up looking for work.

“Today, for every person that got a job, nearly four people stopped looking for a job; they gave up,” he said. “We can’t keep doing this. Our economy needs to create just 150,000 jobs every month just to keep up with the growth of  our population.

“Friends, this is not an economic recovery; this is nowhere close to an economic recovery,” Ryan said. “We need a new president and we need a real economic recovery.”

Obama promised to keep unemployment below 8 percent with the stimulus package passed early on in his term, he said.

Instead, it’s been above 8 percent for 43 months and in Nevada it is 12 percent, Ryan said.

“It’s not working, and we have a plan to fix this,” he said.

In a statement from the White House on the report, Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said: “While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.  It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

Ryan told the Sparks crowd that when Republicans win in November, the Romney-Ryan administration will move to immediately develop the country’s energy resources to create jobs, including building the Keystone pipeline, Ryan said.

The administration will also provide opportunities for those looking for work to learn new skills to find jobs, and will seek to increase manufacturing and agricultural production, he said.

The administration will also work to bring spending under control and bring an end to deficit spending, Ryan said.

“We have got to get this budget under control or else we will wind up just like Europe,” he said. “If you practice European economics you will get European results.”

Finally, the administration will work to help small businesses succeed and create jobs, Ryan said.

Romney will bring a history of successful business experience to the White House, he said.

If Nevadans support the Republican ticket, “we will turn this thing around,” Ryan said.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is locked in a battle with U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., for the senate seat, used Ryan’s visit to criticize Heller for supporting his budget plan, which includes a proposed change to the Medicare system for younger Americans.

Ryan’s plan would keep Medicare in place for people 55 or older but change it for others by privatizing it and relying on government subsidies.

“The Heller-Ryan-Romney plan essentially ends Medicare by turning it over to private insurance companies, and under the plan, seniors’ premiums would increase by nearly $6,400 and they would pay more in prescription drug costs,” Berkley said in a statement.

Heller welcomed Ryan to Nevada in a statement issued by his campaign.

“Paul Ryan is the vice presidential pick who can lead this country in a substantive discussion about the most pressing issues of the day,” he said. “When many in Washington wanted to play politics and preserve their own political ambitions, Paul Ryan faced head-on the enormous challenge of bringing our nation’s fiscal house in order. This conversation is long overdue, and I look forward to more of Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney’s leadership moving forward.”


Audio clips:

Paul Ryan says the country needs new leadership to turn the economy around:

090712Ryan1 :22 the right track.”

Ryan says today’s jobs report shows there is no economic recovery under way:

090712Ryan2 :32 real economic recovery”


Nevada’s Unemployment Rate Jumps In July Even As Jobs Are Added

By Sean Whaley | 11:08 am August 17th, 2012

CARSON CITY – After hitting a three-year low in May and June, Nevada’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped four-tenths of a percentage point in July to 12 percent, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) reported today.

The continued high jobless rate, tops in the nation for yet another month, will be front and center when President Obama visits the state again next week, with stops in both Reno and Las Vegas.

Nevada is a battleground state in the 2012 presidential race.

The July rate is still down compared to July 2011, and remains 2 percentage points below the recessionary peak of 14 percent hit in October 2010, said DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson. The 12 percent rate of joblessness equates to 163,700 people out of work in the state.

And even though the jobless rate rose, Nevada saw job growth from June to July when 2,100 jobs were added, he said.

Employment has increased on a year-over-year basis in each of the past 13 months, and in 18 of the past 19 months, Anderson said.

“I think you have to put today’s report in a broader context,” he said. “Nationwide we saw 44 states with an increase in the unemployment rate from June to July. At the same time, about 31 states had job increases. So it was kind of a good news, bad news kind of a report, pretty much across the majority of states.

“I try not to put too much emphasis on one month’s report,” Anderson said. “So looking forward, I continue to think that we’ll see moderate improvement in the state’s economy and in our labor market. So nothing to write home about but certainly much better than where we were just a couple of short years ago.”

While not directly comparable to the state’s seasonally adjusted figure, the Las Vegas metro area has the highest unemployment rate amongst the state’s three population centers, at 12.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted, in July.

Courtesy of Newmont Mining Corp.

In Carson City, the July unemployment rate stood at 12.2 percent. The Reno-Sparks area tallied a 12 percent rate, Anderson said.

At the county-level, the state’s rural regions where mining activity is occurring continue to have the lowest jobless rates. Lander County, with a rate of 5.7 percent in July, leads the way. Esmeralda is next lowest, at 6.5 percent, followed by Elko County’s 6.7 percent.

The highest unemployment rates continue to be found in the “bedroom communities” of Nye (15.5 percent) and Lyon (15.3 percent) counties.

Over the past 12 months, the Nevada economy has added 10,300 jobs, with 12,600 new positions in private establishments being partially offset by losses in the public sector. The leisure and hospitality sector continues to be the driving force behind Nevada’s job growth, providing 5,100 new jobs over the year and 1,200 over the month.

“I am pleased that job growth continued for a 13th consecutive month, but against the backdrop of a weak national economy not all the news was good,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. “As part of Nevada’s slow recovery, our state experienced a slight uptick in unemployment in July, as occurred in the country as a whole. This news is further evidence that we must continue business development efforts to attract new companies and support the expansion of existing companies to get more Nevadans back to work.”

A broader measure of Nevada’s unemployment picture, including those who have given up looking for work, showed slight but continued improvement through the second quarter of 2012, according to a report released at the end of July.

Called the U-6 rate, it declined in Nevada from 22.3 percent in the four quarters through March 31 to 22.1 percent in the 12 months ending June 30, according to the quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Audio clips:

DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson says despite the uptick in the jobless rate, Nevada like many other states saw job growth from June to July:

081712Anderson1 :25 majority of states.”

Anderson says he still expects to see slow improvement in the Nevada economy and labor market:

081712Anderson2 :22 short years ago.”



President Obama Touts His Accomplishments For Veterans, Military In Reno Visit

By Sean Whaley | 4:27 pm July 23rd, 2012

RENO – President Obama told members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars today that he has fulfilled the promises he made four years ago to make America safer, strengthen jobs programs for returning military personnel and fight homelessness, suicide and posttraumatic stress disorder among the nation’s veterans.

Obama, appearing at the 113th convention of the group, acknowledged in a 30-minute speech that more needs to be done to help returning military personnel find jobs. He took the opportunity to announce a major overhaul of the transition assistance program.

President Obama speaks to the VFW in Reno today.

“We’re going to set up a kind of reverse boot camp for our departing service members,” he said. “Starting this year, they will get more personalized assistance as they plan their careers. We’ll provide the training they need to find that job, or pursue that education or start that business. And just as they have maintained their military readiness, we’ll have new standards of career readiness.”

He also urged Congress to find a solution to the nation’s deficit spending to protect the military budget from automatic cuts set to take effect next year without an agreement.

“Because people in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong,” Obama said. “It should be done.

“If the choice is between tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and funding (for) our troops that they definitely need to keep our country strong, I will stand with our troops every single time,” he said. “So let’s stop playing politics with our military.”

Obama said he promised four years ago, to “take the fight to our enemies and renew our leadership in the world.”

“As president, that’s what I’ve done,” he said.

Not only did his administration kill Osama bin Laden, but it has also taken out more top al-Qaeda leaders than at any time since 9-11, Obama said.

Obama also highlighted his decision to withdraw troops from Iraq in what he said was a responsible manner, and the administration plan now under way to withdraw all U.S. military from Afghanistan, completing a transition to Afghan military control by 2014.

Obama received a number of cheers and applause from the crowd of men and women, some young and others veterans of World War II, Vietnam and Korea, among other conflicts.

He took a few minutes at the beginning of his remarks to talk about those with military connections who were victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting rampage Friday, including Jonathan Blunk, a 2004 graduate of Hug High and a Navy veteran.

His appearance, the second visit to Reno this year, will be followed tomorrow by remarks from Mitt Romney, his presumed GOP rival in the November general election.

Romney has attacked Obama’s record on the military. On his website, he says: “President Obama came into office with a military in serious need of modernization. However, instead of rebuilding our strength, President Obama has put us on course toward a ‘hollow’ force. President Obama has repeatedly sought to slash funds for our fighting men and women, and over the next ten years nearly $1 trillion will be cut from the core defense budget. This budget cutting enterprise is proceeding while American troops are in combat in Afghanistan, returning from their mission in Iraq, and fighting the remnants of al-Qaeda worldwide.”

In a response to Obama’s remarks, Romney campaign spokesman Mason Harrison said: “In no region of the world is our country’s influence any stronger than it was four years ago. President Obama has failed to restore our economy, is weakening our military with devastating defense cuts, and has diminished our moral authority. Governor Romney will restore the pillars of American strength to secure our interests and defend our values.”

Obama’s Nevada visit focused on his record of accomplishments in the military and Veterans arenas, but still brought him to a battleground state viewed as critical by political observers for victory by the candidates in November.

He won Nevada in 2008, but with the highest unemployment rate and one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the nation, the state is considered to be a toss up. Washoe County in particular is viewed as critical to which candidate will win the state’s six electoral votes.


Audio clips:

President Obama urges Congress to come up with a deficit reduction plan to avoid mandatory cuts to the military budget next year:

072312Obama1 :14 should be done.”

Obama says he will fight for military funding rather than lower taxes for the wealthiest Americans:

072312Obama2 :14 every single time.”

Obama announces a “reverse boot camp” to help returning military personnel find work:

072312Obama3 :24 of career readiness.”


Report Says Nevada Tax System Ranks Highly For Entrepreneurship and Small Business

By Sean Whaley | 11:29 am April 24th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A new business index evaluating the states on the effects of their tax systems on entrepreneurship and small business ranks Nevada 3rd behind South Dakota and Texas.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s “Business Tax Index 2012” pulls together 18 different tax measures, and combines them into one tax score that allows the 50 states and District of Columbia to be compared and ranked.

Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the SBE Council and author of the report, said: “All taxes matter, whether imposed at the federal, state or local level of government. They matter to consumers, entrepreneurs, investors and businesses. State and local levies matter in terms of a state’s competitiveness. And they matter when it comes to economic growth and job creation.”

Business Tax Index 2012: State Rankings

Rank State BTI
1 South Dakota 11.813
2 Texas 12.339
3 Nevada 12.614
4 Wyoming 17.360
5 Washington 17.890

Among the measures used to create the rankings are each state’s top personal income tax rate, top individual capital gains tax rate, top corporate income tax rate, property taxes, sales and excise taxes and unemployment taxes.

Nevada does not have either a personal or corporate income tax and was rated highly in these categories. The state did not do as well in the property tax ranking, coming in 33rd as a share of personal income, 47th on sales and excise taxes and 36th on unemployment taxes.

The report compares favorably with another analysis recently released by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The fifth edition of “Rich States, Poor States,” ranked Nevada 18th among states in its ability to compete and grow its economy.

Minnesota ranked last among states in the SBE Council analysis.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has made job creation a top priority of his administration. Earlier this year he announced a goal of creating 50,000 jobs in the state by the end of 2014.

The state recently released its economic development and diversification plan for the state.

Nevada leads the nation in unemployment, with a 12 percent rate reported in March. While the rate has fallen for seven consecutive months, recent improvements are due primarily to discouraged workers who have given up looking for work.

“As we’ve noted previously, it became quite apparent during the most recent recession that Nevada’s economic fortunes are very much tied to the U.S. economy,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), when the March report was released last week. “For the state’s modestly improving labor market to continue to strengthen, underlying fundamentals in the U.S. economy must be favorable.”

The SBE Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit small business advocacy and research organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship.


Obama to Talk Home Refinancing in Las Vegas Following Romney’s Controversial Foreclosure Remarks

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:46 am October 24th, 2011

LAS VEGAS – President Obama will today announce he is expanding a federal aid program to allow more homeowners to refinance their mortgages at today’s low interest rates, said White House officials this morning.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s announcement on changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) includes enabling borrowers who are current on payments to refinance their mortgages regardless of the value of their homes, said  HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Director of the National Economic Council Gene B. Sperling on a White House conference call.

Under the previous program’s guidelines mortgage restructuring was available only to homeowners owing no more than 125 percent of their property’s present appraised value, a restriction that prevented homeowners in hard hit states such as Nevada and California from getting relief.

The revised federal program would also reduce the number of homeowner-paid appraisals during the refinance process, reduce the cost of title insurance and lien processing, and even possibly reduce closing costs in states hardest hit by the mortgage crisis, including Nevada.

The economic and political impact of the new housing initiative is iffy in light of the high foreclosure rate and 13.4 percent unemployment rate in Nevada.

The state continues to lead the country in distressed property rates, according to RealtyTrac’s most recent U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. Additionally, Las Vegas has five times the foreclosure rate of the national average in metropolitan areas with populations of at least 200,000.

The housing issue will likely be an oft-used political football in Nevada between now and the November elections.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney caused a stir last week when he suggested home foreclosures should be allowed to “hit the bottom” to help the housing industry recover.

In an interview published Tuesday ahead of the CNN presidential debate, Romney told Las Vegas Review Journal‘s editorial board he thinks the foreclosure crisis can best be ended by allowing banks to proceed against homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages. New investors could then buy and rent out those homes until the market adjusted, he said.

“As to what to do for the housing industry specifically and are there things that you can do to encourage housing: One is, don’t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom,” Romney said.

Democrats are criticizing Romney as being callous and out of touch with middle class Americans.

“Mitt Romney’s message to Nevada homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage bills is simple: You’re on your own, so step aside,” President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign spokesman, Ben LaBolt, said in a statement last week.

Sen. Harry Reid also chimed in. “Nevada has the highest foreclosure rate in America, and it has for almost three years. And here’s what Mitt Romney said: He would just let them hit rock bottom,” Reid said during a press conference in Washington D.C. “I don’t know what’s more graphic than that, in how we have different views of what the world should be like than our Republican friends.”

Obama is also expected to talk about his jobs initiatives when he speaks to a struggling East Las Vegas neighborhood this afternoon.

The president has been urging Congress to pass portions of the American Jobs Act, a $477 billion package of tax cuts and new federal spending aimed primarily at creating or saving public sector jobs.

Obama is also today holding a campaign fundraiser at Bellagio.

White House officials said Obama this week will be announcing a number of executive actions on the economy during a Western states tour that includes southern California and Colorado.

RNC Ad Takes Issue With Harry Reid’s Public vs. Private Sector Jobs Claim

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:00 pm October 20th, 2011

The RNC is out with an ad highlighting remarks made by Sen. Harry Reid on the floor yesterday (I have provided the context for the clip right below the ad):


Here’s the link if your browser has trouble with the embed:

Reid’s unedited remarks:

“The massive layoffs we’ve had in America today — of course they’re rooted in the last administration — and it’s very clear that private sector jobs are doing just fine. It’s the public sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation’s all about. And it’s unfortunate my friend the Republican Leader is complaining about that. I would also note that my friend said the House passed another bill. Well, they pass lots of bills, but they rarely go anyplace.” (Sen. Reid, Floor Remarks, 10/19/11)

Couple notes, Dear Readers (some of these numbers gleaned from this analysis):

According to the most recent estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 21,985, 000 government employees. The last time we were near that number was 2006. The number of public employees peaked at 22,980,000 in May of 2010, some of it due to Census-related hiring (estimates at the time were that the Census would create roughly one million temporary jobs). The total was estimated at 22,582,000 when Obama took office. Bottom line, over the past few years, the total number has hovered right around 22-23 million with differences of no greater than one million between the high and low points. By percentage, that’s about a 4.5 percent loss from peak to low.

The most recent total number of private-sector employees (from September) was 109,349,000, with a peak in January 2008 at 115,610,000. The most recent low was 106,772,000 in February of 2010. So:  the difference between the most recent peak to the most recent low: 8,817,000 (and presently we are about 6 million away from the peak). By percentage, that’s about an 8.2 point loss from peak to low.

Politifact dug up some numbers and weighed in on this, too, if you want to take a look at their assessment.

Update/note:  Reid’s remarks relate to a jobs bill you can read about here.


U.S. Senate Candidates Berkley, Heller, Trade Barbs On Chinese Currency Issue

By Sean Whaley | 3:35 pm October 5th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Last week it was a dispute about the Small Business Jobs Act and whether it will create any jobs in Nevada that generated controversy between the two major party candidates for the U.S. Senate.

This week the issue is Chinese currency manipulation and its negative effects on job creation in Nevada and the nation that has the candidates firing back and forth.

Jobs, or more precisely the lack of jobs, is clearly the key in the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelly Berkley, D-Nev.

In a telephone conference call today, Berkley blasted Heller for opposing the legislation that would impose sanctions on the Chinese government for manipulating its currency, a practice she said has cost nearly 2.8 million jobs in the U.S. between 2001 and 2010, including 14,800 in Nevada.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., addresses the Legislature earlier this year. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“This election is about one issue: jobs,” Berkley said in a telephone conference with the media. “Nevada’s unemployment is still a record high. However, not everyone in Washington is working to create jobs for Nevada and for the rest of our nation. In fact, there are some here in the nation’s capital who are doing the exact opposite.”

The Senate voted 79-19 in support of the Chinese currency bill, with Heller, appointed to fill out the term of John Ensign, who resigned, voting against the measure. Some Democrat senators voted against the bill as well.

“This is not just unacceptable, it is shameful, and it shows my opponent just doesn’t get it,” Berkley said. “Across the state Nevadans are scratching their heads, and they are asking: ‘who do you work for Dean, the Chinese, the Chinese government, or Nevada’s working families.’ Job creation needs to be our top priority.”

Heller, speaking in support of three amendments to the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform bill on the Senate floor today, said the measure takes the wrong approach to job creation and could be detrimental to U.S. economic growth.

U.S. Senator Dean Heller.

“Inciting a trade war with China will not create jobs,” he said. “In my home state of Nevada, a trade war would hurt tourism. It would stifle growth in renewable energy development and increase costs to consumers at a time when they can least afford it.

“Working to sell American goods in foreign markets is what we should be fighting for,” Heller said. “Instead, it seems job creation and economic growth has taken a back seat to political posturing and grandstanding here in Washington.”

Heller has proposed an amendment to the legislation that he says would help create jobs in the U.S. by addressing government policies affecting the domestic critical minerals supply chain.

“Within the United States are some of the largest concentrations of rare earth minerals in the world,” Heller said in a release discussing the amendment. “At a time when Nevada is leading the country in unemployment, we need access to the natural resources in our backyard now more than ever.”

He also spoke in support of an amendment to the legislation that will rein in excessive federal regulations that are stifling job creation.

Heller said the proposal would require a market-benefit analysis so the public can know the true cost of any proposed regulations.

Berkley said during the telephone conference that the U.S. is already in a trade war with China, one that Nevada working families are losing. The measure would level the playing field, she said. By keeping the value of their currency artificially low, it makes it impossible for American manufacturing to compete, Berkley said.


Audio clips:

Rep. Shelley Berkley says Heller is not working to create jobs in Nevada:

100511Berkley1 :19 the exact opposite.”

Berkley says Heller is siding with the Chinese government over unemployed Nevadans:

100511Berkley2 :19 doesn’t get it.”

Berkley says Nevadans want to know who Heller is working for:

100511Berkley3 :13 our top priority.”

Sen. Dean Heller says the currency bill could incite a trade war with China:

100511Heller1 :24 least afford it.”

Heller says working to sell American goods in foreign markets is what we should be fighting for:

100511Heller2 :23 have failed miserably.”

Heller says Congress needs to roll back regulations that are tying the hands of entrepreneurs:

100511Heller3 :14 pockets of Americans.”



Gov. Sandoval Names New Director Of State Department Of Employment, Training And Rehabilitation

By Sean Whaley | 2:25 pm September 13th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval has named Frank Woodbeck as director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. Woodbeck will begin his new job Oct. 3

“Mr. Woodbeck is somebody that I came to know given his activities with economic development,” Sandoval said. “I believe that it is very important going forward that there be an alignment between DETR, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, and economic development, and he has a unique skill set in that regard.”

Frank Woodbeck, newly appointed director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Sandoval said the director of DETR will be serving as a non-voting member of the newly revised Board of Economic Development, of which he will be serving as chairman. The board, revised as a result of bipartisan support in the 2011 Legislature, will be focusing on Sandoval’s No. 1 priority of job creation.

“We have to be more efficient and smart with regard to our efforts moving forward,” Sandoval said. “I don’t want the soon-to-be newly constituted Economic Development Board to be working in a different direction than DETR. And so if we’re out there trying to expand job opportunities in the soon-to-be identified job sectors, certainly we should be focusing our training efforts at DETR in those very same areas.

“We need leaders working hard every day to bring new business to Nevada and get our fellow Nevadans back to work,” he said. “Frank’s background will provide an important voice in the discussion.”

Woodbeck said of his appointment:  “Creating jobs and preparing Nevadans to go back to work is the governor’s top priority. Within the next several weeks, research from SRI & Brookings Institute will give us ideas on six or seven industry sectors we should focus on for economic development and diversification in Nevada. This is part of the economic development restructuring called for in Assembly Bill 449. We will then be able to align the resources and work of DETR with the economic development goals, and move our state forward toward long-term economic diversification.”

Woodbeck is currently the director of Las Vegas Operations and Workforce Initiatives for the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, where he is responsible for economic development activity in coordination with the local development authorities in southern Nevada and for providing advice and guidance to create employment and training opportunities for new and emerging companies throughout the state. He was previously a strategic consultant on workforce initiatives for DETR.

As a former commissioner on the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, Woodbeck has been a regional general manager and consultant for Lakeshore Media LLC and a vice president with ABC Radio Networks.

A graduate of the University of Buffalo, Woodbeck is a member of the Nevada Education Foundation’s Ready for Life Committee on Youth, a board member on the Nevada Energy Assistance Corporation, and a member of the Nevada Broadband Taskforce.

Woodbeck takes over from former director Larry Mosley, who announced his resignation in June.


Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says Woodbeck has experience in economic development:

091311Sandoval1 :17 in that regard.”

Sandoval says DETR must work closely with the new Economic Development Board and Woodbeck has the right qualifications:

091311Sandoval2 :21 very same areas.”

Hundreds Of Trees Planted But Few Jobs Created In Clark County Federal Stimulus Project

By Sean Whaley | 2:00 am August 8th, 2011

CARSON CITY – If a $490,000 grant to plant trees in Clark County public places as part of a federal job-creating stimulus project should be measured by the “greening” of Southern Nevada, then the effort might be considered a modest success.

Thirteen different government and nonprofit entities applied for 1,814 trees for planting at 35 different public areas in Southern Nevada through the grant. A total of 1,541 trees have been provided to the agencies and groups for planting, mostly at schools and parks around the Vegas valley.

Photo by Nevit Dilmen (2006)

But if job creation to help the country out of the “great recession” is the measure of success, then the funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Clark County “Nursery Greening Project” is not likely to win high marks.

According to the Nevada state Division of Forestry, which administered the grant, few jobs were created. Two positions, equivalent to less than 1.5 full-time jobs, were preserved at the Las Vegas State Tree Nursery. A third position through Manpower Inc. of Southern Nevada was created. In addition, 11 individuals were hired for various aspects for projects to include planters, program development, trainers and drivers. The jobs were short term.

Seven temporary jobs were also created for workers at First Choice Tree Service to plant the trees in 15 gallon containers. A total of 480 hours were worked.

The federal website that monitors American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects, reports the tree planting grant has created 1.72 jobs.

Pete Sepp, vice president for communications and policy at the Washington, DC-based National Taxpayers Union, said the project appears to have generated little benefit in the way of job retention or creation.

Pete Sepp, vice president for communications and policy at the Washington, DC-based National Taxpayers Union.

“At first blush this does seem to have amounted to an awfully high expenditure for a rather low level of results,” he said. “Planting trees is a wonderful thing but if the goal was to preserve or create jobs, a near half million dollar expenditure for a few retained and a few created would strike most taxpayers, especially unemployed ones, as a poor value.”

The project, and many others, raises the question of whether the estimates of job creation through ARRA were ever credible to begin with, Sepp said.

The Nevada News Bureau first reported on the grant in July last year. A public records request to the state Forestry Division provided the results of the grant and its success at job preservation and creation.

Bob Conrad, public information officer for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said of the program: “ARRA projects were solicited to state agencies, and we were given 24 hours to put together very short project proposals. ARRA money had to go through state agencies, and the U.S. Forest Service selected the projects by county.”

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Larry Chambers defended the project in an emailed statement: “The recovery act has given hundreds of Nevadans access to green-collar job training in more than a dozen landscaping workshops, and hundreds of trees have been planted in urban settings, improving quality of life and improving energy efficiency. Trees are a long-term investment – the people of Nevada are reaping the benefits of the recovery act now, and will continue to do so for years to come.”

Nevada state Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, tongue firmly in cheek, said the benefit of the job-creation project has been misunderstood.

Nevada state Assemblyman John Hambrick. / Nevada News Bureau file photo

“Obviously when you look at it, what the public does not understand, and obviously you are missing the point – those trees are very special trees,” he said. “They are money trees. And as they plant them, obviously the county will harvest the bills that grow on the money trees. So in actuality it was an investment.”

After the Nevada News Bureau reported on the program, it along with tree planting efforts in several other states, made a list of 100 questionable ARRA projects assembled by two U.S. senators in 2010 in a report called “Summertime Blues.”

Even President Obama joked in June that the 2009 $787 billion stimulus bill, aimed at creating jobs with “shovel ready” projects, “was not as shovel ready as we expected.” The stimulus was intended to keep the national jobless rate from exceeding 8 percent, but that did not happen.

Even so, defenders of the stimulus said the jobless rate, which stood at 9.2 percent as of June, would have been worse without the grants, extended unemployment benefits and other elements of ARRA. Nevada’s June jobless rate was 12.4 percent, tops in the nation.

Sepp said such claims are questionable.

“It’s impossible to start disproving negative situations through government expenditure levels and employment levels,” he said. “In the end this package over-promised and under-delivered.”

Conrad said an original estimate of 2,500 trees to be planted through the grant was an error. The correct number was 2,000, with 801 purchased from the state’s Las Vegas nursery and 1,195 purchased from L.E. Cooke Co., a tree supplier to nurseries around the country. The trees cost $33.50 each for just under $70,000 total. Of the total, 220 died or were not sellable, and 235 remain to be awarded to the different entities for planting.

Tree types made available for planting included Arizona ash, black locust, desert willow, honey locust and sweet acacia, among others.

Some of the entities requesting and planting the trees includes the city of Mesquite, which received 150 trees, the city of Henderson Parks and Recreation Department which received 128 trees, and a nonprofit group See Spot Run, Inc., which created a dog park in Boulder City.

The Division of State Parks also planted 35 trees at the Mormon Fort State Park in downtown Las Vegas.

Other projects included in the nearly half million dollar stimulus funding grant were tree care classes for Spanish-speaking green-industry workers, a city/regional tree inventory, and urban canopy assessments. Funding for the tree-care classes totaled $30,000.

In a report on the project by the state Division of Forestry, two classes of five, three-hour sessions were held in November 2010 and March 2011 for the Spanish-speaking workforce. There were 510 attendees.

A request for proposals for the tree inventory was issued in July.

About 90 percent of the grant has been obligated to positions, salaries, sub-grants and projects, with about 60 percent spent so far.

According to the Nevada Division of Forestry, the recovery act provided the U.S. Department of Agriculture with $28 billion in stimulus funding, with $1.15 billion of the total allocated to the U.S. Forest Service for forest restoration, hazardous fuels reduction, construction and maintenance of facilities, trails and roads, green energy projects and grants to states, tribes and private landowners. The grant to the state Division of Forestry for the tree program came from this pot of funding.

The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources was awarded $46 million in ARRA funding, of which the tree-planting project was one project. Nevada state agencies were awarded $3.3 billion total.

Audio clips:

Pete Sepp, vice president for communications and policy at the Washington, DC-based National Taxpayers Union, says taxpayers do not appear to have received much value from the program in terms of job creation:

080411Sepp1 :15 level of results.”

Sepp says the tree-planting project appears to be a poor value for jobs created or retained:

080411Sepp2 :23 as poor value.”

Sepp says ARRA over-promised and under-delivered:

080411Sepp3 :21 and under-delivered.”

State Assemblyman John Hambrick says (in jest) the trees are an investment that will pay off:

080411Hambrick :22 was an investment.”

Why Won’t More Businesses Come To Nevada?

By Andrew Doughman | 7:22 am March 24th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Sometimes, trying to read the CEO’s mind can be a political game.

Critics of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed education cuts have said business owners will not move to a state that ravages its already low-performing education system with spending reductions.

Whether that is true or not depends who you ask.

On Monday, television host Jon Ralston asked Sandoval if business owners have cited concerns over Nevada’s public education system as the reason they don’t set up shop in Nevada.

Sandoval replied he “has not heard that one.”

The next day, United States Sen. John Ensign addressed the Nevada Legislature. Ensign said he talks with “technology companies from all over the world.”

“When I ask them why not choose Nevada as a place for your business to build, the answer is that our schools are just not good enough,” he said. “They mention that the tax climate is desirable but tell me our K-12 system is inadequate.”

The two Republican politicians offered different answers. So who is right?

Again, that depends who you ask. Mark Arend is the editor of Site Selection magazine, a publication for CEOs and real estate consultants.

“I don’t think most site selectors get into the weeds of education budgets that much,” he said. “They’re really looking at finding the labor force they want.”

Businesses like a favorable tax climate and a regulatory landscape devoid of red tape.

But they also need the right people. Of course, who those right people are depends on the job.

“What a casino needs is a lot different from what a solar manufacturing company needs,” Arend said.

Leaders in Nevada are more interested in the latter than the former.

“Our future lies in business sectors like technology commercialization, bioscience, renewable energy asset development, and defense sector expansion,” Sandoval said during his State of the State address in January.

Those are the types of jobs that require skilled workers, or at least educated workers who can easily learn the skills required in emerging industries.

Hence the arguments that Sandoval should not cut education budgets. That way, the argument goes, chief executives considering a relocation will be confident that Nevada’s education system can churn out skilled workers.

Sandoval plans to cut the K-12 budget by more than $200 million and the higher education budget by $162 million.

Nevada consistently ranks poorly – sometimes last in the nation – in polls and surveys grading or ranking its education system.

“It’s a perception issue. There are terrific schools in our school system,” said Hayim Mizrachi, at NAI Las Vegas, a commercial real estate company. “…But, when they read that Nevada is the lowest of the low in education it raises a flag, and the flag creates a conversation, and that conversation distracts from all the benefits.”

Some of those benefits are Nevada’s low tax environment.

Site Selection magazine surveyed corporate real estate executives and asked them “what matters most” in determining a site location. A skilled work force and a state’s tax scheme are first and second on the list.

Last month, business leaders met with the governor and state legislators. For the type of high-tech jobs Nevada’s leaders want to create, the business representatives said that low taxes and a solid education system are both important.

So who is right, Sandoval or Ensign?

Here’s a politician’s answer: they both are.

Sandoval Confirms Veto Threat Of Two Democratic Jobs Bills

By Sean Whaley | 7:01 pm March 8th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Democratic legislative leaders today questioned a comment from the Sandoval administration that two job creation bills they are pursuing will be vetoed for creating a hole in the governor’s recommended state general fund budget.

But Gov. Brian Sandoval reiterated his veto position, saying the two measures would create more than a $400 million hole in his proposed budget without offering any way to close the gap. Most other bills won’t be evaluated until they reach his desk, he said.

But Senate Bill 192 and Assembly Bill 183 are different, Sandoval said.

“There is a big budget issue there,” he said today. “Because they create a major hole in the budget without the provision of any type of strategy or plan as to how to back fill that loss of revenue.”

At a Monday briefing, Dale Erquiaga, senior adviser to Sandoval, said any measure that creates a hole in the proposed $5.8 billion general fund budget faces a veto from the governor.

The unequivocal comment was a departure from past statements that Sandoval will evaluate each bill once it reaches his desk before deciding to sign or veto the legislation.

In discussing several legislative priorities today, Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, was asked to comment on the Sandoval administration veto threat.

“The governor also said before that he would wait until the bills went through both houses to see how they came out before they got to his desk before he talked about vetoes so it seems like there’s a change of position there,” he said.

“I think what we’ll do about it is we will work with business, who is fairly excited about some of these bills, to try to override a veto,” Oceguera said.

Senate Bill 192, would direct 2 cents in existing property taxes to Clark and Washoe counties to use to bond for public works construction projects. It passed the Senate on a party line 11-10 vote on Monday and headed to the Assembly.

Nevada Senate Republicans said the measure would create a $94.3 million budget hole.

Sandoval wants to use the money to support the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Assembly Bill 183 passed the Assembly on Friday, also on a party line 25-16 vote. It will now be considered in the Senate. It would allow school districts to use $400 million in bond reserve funds to improve older schools.

Sandoval has instead proposed that the money be used to fund school district operating costs as part of his budget.

Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says the two jobs bills create major hole his budget:

030811Sandoval :09 loss of revenue.”

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera says veto threat is a change of position:

030811Oceguera1 :14 of position there.”

Oceguera says Democrats will work on veto override:

030811Oceguera2 :08 override a veto.”

State Senate Republican Offers Bill To Exempt New Employees from Modified Business Tax

By Sean Whaley | 6:41 pm March 1st, 2011

CARSON CITY – A Republican state senator has proposed his own idea for job creation: A break on the modified business tax for new employees hired by employers after July 1, 2011.

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, said Senate Bill 199 would exempt new employees hired by Nevada businesses from the tax as an incentive to add workers to their payrolls. Co-sponsors include five other Republican lawmakers. The measure was introduced Monday.

“The concept is based on the payroll tax, which unfortunately unfairly burdens employers based on how many employees they have,” he said. “Only if it is a brand new additional employee – above and beyond what you currently have – the new employee will not have the payroll tax charged upon them for one year.”

Settelmeyer’s jobs proposal comes as Democratic leaders in both the Assembly and Senate are touting their own job creation initiatives, including a plan to use some existing revenues to bond to build public works projects, and another to create a bidder’s preference on such projects for companies that hire Nevada workers.

SB199 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee but no hearing has been scheduled yet.

Settelmeyer’s bill would require employers to demonstrate that any employees hired under the tax exemption are new additions to a firm’s current workforce, but there would be no limit to the number of new hires that could be included in the exemption. The exemption would be available to existing businesses only.

Bryan Wachter, director of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said the organization typically opposes tax exemptions or abatements but believes Settelmeyer’s proposal is a positive job-creating measure.

“We do see this as a private sector jobs creation bill,” he said. “Anytime you can stimulate private sector hiring without relying on public sector dollars, that is a good thing.”

Nevada’s nearly 15 percent unemployment rate does not appear as if it will decline anytime soon, and the tax incentive in SB199 could assist in reversing that trend, Wachter said.

Randi Thompson, the local representative for the National Federation of Independent Business, said the bill is a good start to getting Nevadans back to work.

“Anything that would encourage hiring is a good thing,” she said.

Thompson said she remains concerned, however, about the Legislature’s intentions as to the current rates of the modified business tax.

Nevada’s modified business tax is based on an employer’s gross payroll, after deductions for health insurance benefits paid by the employer. The 2009 Legislature increased the tax rate from 0.63 percent to 1.17 percent for large businesses as a way to balance the current budget.

At the same time, it reduced the rate to 0.5 percent for small businesses. Both changes will expire on July 1, 2011, unless the Legislature takes action.

Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to let the increase for large businesses expire, but he wants to continue the lower rate for small businesses for the upcoming two-year budget.

Settelmeyer said he has been told by small businesses that the exemption could make the difference between hiring a new worker and waiting. Larger casino operators have made similar comments, he said.

Audio clips:

Sen. James Settelmeyer says the payroll tax burdens employers based on the number of employees:

030111Settelmeyer1 :08 employees they have.”

Settelmeyer says only new employees would be eligible for the exemption:

030111Settelmeyer2 :08 for one year.”

Nevada Institute Selected To Pilot Federal Program

By Andrew Doughman | 2:36 pm February 18th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A Nevada group has beat out 71 national competitors to mentor small businesses under a federal program.

The federal Small Business Administration picked the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization earlier this week to be a pilot for an entrepreneurial mentoring program.

NIREC joins just three other companies nationwide in the program designed to pair mentors with participating companies to assess needs, opportunities and strategies.

In other words, officials decided that the work NIREC already does in Nevada qualified it to for the pilot program.

The institute already has an established network of professionals who understand entrepreneurship. Research institutes, utilities, corporations and venture capitalists are all part of the not-for-profit organization.

According to a Small Business Administration press release, that means they should be able to more easily help companies raise money, create jobs and overcome challenges.

John Argo, an entrepreneur at NIREC, said that the institute is supposed to partner with a handful of businesses nationwide to help them grow.

“You have to spend a lot of time with each company to find out what their needs are and connect them with the right people,” he said.

None of the companies are in Nevada.

He said, however, that the organization already partners with tech-based start-ups in Nevada, and NIREC officials can always bring what they learn through participating in the federal program back to Nevada.

NIREC has also been involved at the Legislature at committee hearings for economic development.

Legislators Working At “Breakneck” Speed

By Andrew Doughman | 5:31 pm February 11th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Legislators have done this week what the cynical among us would never have expected: they got right to work.

The chatter in the hallways at 401 S Carson Street has revolved around the fast pace legislators seem to be setting during their first week in session. Legislators are already listening to testimony about bills. Legislative leaders are already rolling out big jobs bills.

“They’re moving at breakneck speed,” said Chris Ferrari, a lobbyist with Ferrari Public Affairs.

The quick pace could help later because legislators have plenty to attend to this session. Chief among their tasks is balancing the state’s budget, a challenge made more difficult because of the recession and the past two years of budget reductions.

Legislators also need to redraw the state’s electoral districts based on data from the 2010 U.S. Census. Nevada’s population grew enough between 2000 and 2010 to win it a fourth Congressional district. Penciling in the lines on the map will require legislators to balance politics and fairness.

Putting themselves through the paces early frees up time for the big fights later.

For the taxpayer, making sure the legislative session finishes on-time also saves money. Legislators have already appropriated $15 million for the cost of this year’s session. Depending on the duration and scope of work required for a special session, each extra day could cost between $50,000 and $100,000.

George Flint, a lobbyist for Reno area wedding chapels and some of Nevada’s legal brothels, said he appreciates the hustle.

“They are jumping into some of these important bills early,” Flint said. “I think there is a mentality I like and appreciate, let’s get this show on the road because we have some really huge fights and really huge issues to address and if we wait too long we’re going to be really on a short time frame as the 120 days creeps up.”

Longtime lobbyist Scott Craigie, who also served as chief of staff to former Gov. Bob Miller, said lawmakers are moving quickly in the first week of the session, particularly in the Senate. Craigie is representing the Nevada State Medical Society, among other clients.

“I think the Legislature is really moving forward, as much as they can,” he said. “It is interesting because the Assembly side has a lot of new people in it, so those folks are trying to find their way and get their bearings, whereas the Senate is really moving very aggressively.”

Craigie said Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, who announced on the first day of the session on Monday he wants job creation legislation passed within 30 days, has been aggressive in pursuing his agenda, even before the session began.

“And a lot of the people on the Senate side have kind of gone along with that and in fact have added to it,” he said.

Horsford and his counterparts in the Assembly on Thursday announced two major jobs initiatives they will pursue over the next few weeks. It is not clear yet if Gov. Brian Sandoval will support the measures. Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, said he too has observed that the session is moving quickly. Senate committees including Judiciary, Transportation and Revenue have all had lengthy hearings this first week, he said.

“You’ve got to hit the ground running and get into third gear pretty quick,” he said.

Recent changes encourage faster legislative process

Workers at the legislative building attribute some of the fast start to structural changes made within the past dozen years.

The first change came in 1999, when the Legislature first convened for a 120-day legislative session. Prior to that, the 1997 session had last from late January into early July.

The state never had had limits on its sessions, perhaps because legislators of yesteryear never would have dreamed of still being in Carson City in July.

“In the old days people would come in when it was too cold to plant crops, stay here for a few months and go home,” said Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

But since the imposition of session deadlines, the Legislature hasn’t kept to its deadlines very well. Sessions ran over the allotted 120-days in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

That changed, though, in 2007. Legislators passed a law that required the pre-filing of bills, meaning that staff drafted more bills before the session ever started. With the language of the bills in front of them, legislators have an easier time getting to work.

“In the past, there have been been times when the first week has been almost completely lost,” Malkiewich said.

But he isn’t ready to call off a special session.

As legislators are so fond of saying, everything is on the table.

Capital Bureau Chief Sean Whaley contributed to this report.

Longtime lobbyist Scott Craigie says the Nevada’s Senate is moving quickly during the first week of session:

021111 Craigie: Senate moving very agressively”

Longtime lobbyist Scott Craigie says the Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, has been aggressive in pursuing his agenda:

021111 Craigie: have added to it.”