Improving Reno’s Economy – I Have an Idea

I’m not one to follow local news very closely, except as it relates to me directly. Occasionally the local news will come on and for one reason or another it doesn’t get changed. Not that there’s any point in sharing this. In the not too distant past a couple of stories were played that I found either infuriating or humorous. I’m still undecided. I’ll only touch briefly on one of the topics – I’ll save the other for another day since it will likely be more involved to get all the information straight.

In this particular story the reporter was discussing Reno’s economic health during this downturn. I didn’t catch every word, but it looked like they were talking to Jessica Sferrazza so it seemed pretty official. At the end of the story, either the city or the reporter asked the viewers, “What ideas do you have to help Reno work this the economic crisis?” I may be paraphrasing.

I’m sure everyone was thinking what I was thinking: Station Casinos. Our city council sometimes seems hell-bent on looking for any opportunity it can find to grab a quick buck through taxation of casinos. We do live in Nevada, and that’s a choice I’ve made along with pretty much everyone else, but don’t complain to the public when the gambling industry begins to suffer.

Station Casinos was heavily protested by all the people who live in the area that would be affected. Petitions were signed and the people made it clear that they do not want a casino in this area. People also flooded the halls when the city council discussed the project. Wisely, the city council listened to the people and did not approve the casino permit; however, as our city council is prone to do, they quietly met a short time later and approved the permit when they didn’t have those nasty constituents breathing down their necks and forcing their opinions on the council representatives.

As Indian gaming and internet gaming grows and other states consider legalizing gambling, Reno must stop this foolish money grabbing. This recession/depression should be a lesson that we are putting our eggs in one basket. Let Las Vegas have the gaming tourism – Reno will never be able to compete. Northern Nevada needs to focus on other business and finding ways to make Northern Nevada attractive to a variety of industries. This means abandoning our city’s current policy of “A Casino on Every Corner”, also known as “No Compulsive Gambler Left Behind”.

Reno can correct a number of issues by taking my advice. The obvious benefits include fewer suicides, fewer alcoholics, less drug use and trafficking and a better enviroment and community for everyone. I would imagine there would be less tobacco use and fewer people killed by drunk drivers, but I’m not sure if there are statistics to back me up. That’s just my opinion.

While opining, I believe that the county should overhaul WCSD and encourage school vouchers and better school choice. Nevada spends a fortune on our kids and they are getting a very poor education in many cases. Yet, everywhere I look I see billboards (horrible, evil billboards) saying the educators need more money. Every election there is a bond issue on the ballot. I’m pretty sure that every bond measure passes, too. But it’s never enough. It will never be enough. The only thing that will improve our school district is some good old-fashioned competition – not more money.

So, to try to wrap this up into some type of coherent statement, quit focusing so much on gaming and tourism and try to find ways to attract businesses to Reno. Quit putting casinos outside of downtown. Quit taxing the living snot out of existing casinos to fund a failing school district that shows little tolerance for competition.

For additional reading about how our current funding helps our schools, check out this article at the Nevada Policy Research Institute:

Oh, and quit raising my taxes every time I turn around. Okay, I’m done.

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