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A much brighter New Year
by Harry Spencer
Dec 31, 2010 | 992 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Looking at the date on today’s paper you’ll notice a string of ones as it is the first day of the first month of a new year that comes in at ’11, which in and of itself has always been considered a lucky number in this gambling town.

All indications are that the Silver State is poised to enjoy a fortuitous year for a change. Next week we will see a new governor sworn in as well as many new members of the state Legislature. While they will face a lot of challenges in the upcoming session in Carson City there is an upbeat feeling overall. Plenty of newspaper space has been given recently about the gloomy past four years that outgoing Gov. Jim Gibbons has suffered during his single term at the helm in the capital.

There is a strong feeling of hope that the outgoing and personable Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval will usher in a new era for the Silver State inasmuch as he has said he will interact with both the state Senate and Assembly to get Nevada back on the track to financial stability.

While it is true that Nevada still ranks at the top of the “bad” recession list, most political pros here think there is nowhere to go but up. If that philosophy holds true, then Sandoval’s pledge to personally spearhead the effort to attract new businesses to Nevada, a la the methods that have worked so successfully in Texas, might yield some particularly successful results.

Belt tightening certainly is on the docket and it will take a lot of that to meet the proposed budget shortfall which, to date, no one has accurately pinned down. Getting past that hurdle the state leaders can then get on the positive track necessary to return some vibrancy to the once ebullient Nevada economy. To best describe the place that we hold in the present national picture, one has to only recall the pithy statement that retired state archivist Guy Rocha has uttered on numerous public appearances. It goes like this: “During the Great Depression Nevada was the last state in and the first state out, during the current recession, Nevada was the first state in and probably will be the last state out.”

Much of what is necessary for Nevada to recover depends on its sister state, California. As the primary feeder of our tourism industry, particularly in Las Vegas, the Golden State has to get cooking again in order to give us that once-relied-on spillover effect. To that end California also is welcoming a new administration in the form of previous Gov. Jerry Brown. It will be interesting to see if Brown and Sandoval can work in any sort of tandem as former governors Ronald Reagan and Paul Laxalt once did.

While jobs are supposed to be the main issue when President Barack Obama and the new Congress next convene, it should be brought to their attention (perhaps by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) that Nevada is front and center in first place for the most immediate help. If home building and other construction jobs can once again be cranked up, then state residents will be in a position to again purchase big-ticket items such as cars and trucks and the sales tax coffers will begin to swell. Mining, which is the only industry in the state that is in any sort of robust condition, has indicated that it is willing to step forward when it comes to paying more. Another hot item on the table is a service tax that could be imposed and it looks to be a strong revenue producer.

Ideally, the long-

delayed flat income tax on the national level could start to move forward, effectively giving long-term investors in job-producing endeavors the confidence to once again get into business in a big way. The two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts was a start, but too tiny a start to encourage big-time investments that take much longer than 24 months to put into operation and show a profit.

Essentially, what has been tried for the past two years has not worked so we are due for a major course correction on all levels of government. Hopefully we will get it.

Nevada bowl game

With the possibility of more than 16,000 Nevada Wolf Pack football fans planning to attend the Jan. 9 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl game in San Francisco, a lucky 1,000 will be able to purchase round-trip bus tickets to the game. The seats are being sold at the Grand Sierra Resort box office. GSR has contracted with the Amador Stage Lines to provide the vehicles and also has sweetened the pot by offering ticket buyers the option of including Saturday and Sunday room nights at the hotel for the special price of $25. In addition to the GSR promotion, Amador has numerous charter buses to the game at half a dozen business location in Reno.

Currently basking in the warm glow of appreciation and adulation that the 2010 football season at the University of Nevada, Reno has afforded him, head coach Chris Ault recently was interviewed on Sam Shad’s “Nevada Newsmakers” TV show. During the on-air interview, Shad asked Ault how long he thought he would remain at the helm of the school’s football program. Ault’s response was, “I don’t intend to coach as long as Joe Patern.”

Whatever his future career path might be after football could be determined by the powerful behind-the-scenes movers and shakers that are pushing him to consider politics as his second calling.

Might not be a bad idea.

Harry Spencer is a freelance writer in Reno. His column about the past and present of northern Nevada appears weekly in the Tribune.

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in Harry Spencer’s column are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tribune.
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