The current Reno City Council,
including my opponent, gave initial approval to a corporate welfare
laden development known as the Cabelas Project this past January.
As reported in the August 6th Reno Gazette-Journal, Cabela's
will be allowed to keep 75 percent of sales tax collected at the store
to pay itself back for the costs it will incur in constructing the store
location and making the necessary modifications to the I-80 Boomtown
interchange by means of STAR bonds.
Furthermore, because the Boomtown area is in the redevelopment district,
most of the property taxes generated by the Cabelas Project will
be redirected from local government general funds. Through 2028, which
is the length of time it will take to pay off the STAR bonds for the
Cabelas Project, over $80 million in tax revenue will have been
siphoned-off from education, police, fire and other public services.
As a concerned citizen and former legislator well-versed in the taxation
process, I have numerous objections to the Cabelas Project as
it now stands.
First, it is upon mere conjecture
that half of the sales tax revenue generated will come from out of state
tourists as required by the STAR Bond statutes, especially since Cabelas
has told the Reno City Council they are seeking to build locations in
Why would tourists come over
the pass simply to shop at a store they had access to closer to home?
Second, although my opponent
has labeled me a "career politician," I know enough about
private enterprise to recognize that Cabelas has succeeded in
putting its cost of doing business on the backs of local taxpayers to
the detriment of public services with the help of a complicit city council.
Third, I agree with County
Commissioner Jim Galloways assessment that the STAR Bond legislation
was never designed to be implemented in tandem with a redevelopment
Fourth, the Reno City Council
has convinced itself that it is necessary to subsidize the projects
of corporations new to the area. Nevada communities do not have to give
away the kitchen sink to attract businesses, they will come anyway because
of our already friendly tax environment and low cost of living.
Growth proposals must be thoroughly planned and investigated so that
private developers bear the burden of financing such projects until
tax revenues are being generated that pay for the requisite city services
to new locations. Economic development should be of benefit to the entire
The City of Reno has tremendous
amounts of revenue, but too much is earmarked for corporate welfare
programs that are the responsibility of the private sector. This misallocation
of priorities starves parks, road construction, street resurfacing,
police and fire protection and all other essential services which constitute
Councilwoman Sharon Zadra
has been actively promoting the Cabelas Project since she visited
a store location with Mayor Bob Cashell and Councilman Dwight Dortch
over two years ago.
I would have hoped she could
have come to some of the same conclusions about proper governance and