Topping the list is expanding the “Nevada Jobs First” legislation passed last year. That law gives contractors a bidding preference on public works projects if at least half their workers and materials come from Nevada. The new proposal would necessitate those requirements instead of making them a bidding preference.
“We want every single construction job that has state or local taxpayer money” to hire Nevadans, said Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas.
Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, said a better idea would be to eliminate prevailing wages on public works projects — a requirement that critics say inflates costs.
“Until the economy starts growing there won’t be many public works projects anyway,” Hickey said in a statement.
Another Democratic idea is for businesses to team up with the state’s higher education system and invest in programs to train the types of workers they need.
Other measures include establishing online marketing data to help small businesses; making vacant state buildings and land available for economic development; and streamlining application and permitting processes similar to steps taken by Utah and Florida.
Hickey called the proposal to use empty state buildings an “empty idea,” but applauded suggestions to make permitting easier, noting similar measures are part of Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s economic development plan.