Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, is shepherding a package of bills he says is designed to make Nevada the destination for entrepreneurs.
“The idea broadly is to look at our economic development efforts with a renewed emphasis on what we can grow instead of what we can buy,” he said.
He said in Northern Nevada, tax credits did an excellent job of bringing Tesla/Panasonic to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.
“What I’m interested in doing is growing next Tesla from the ground up with Nevada people,” Kieckhefer said. “I think the skills, talent and entrepreneurial spirit is here to do so.”
But to get that going, he said, “we have to make sure the environment is here to do so.”
Of the four bills he has introduced n the Senate thus far, the most ambitious is Senate Bill 349, which creates a public/private non-profit, the “Volens et Potens” — a Latin phrase meaning “willing and able” that appears on Nevada’s territorial seal. The bill would create a non-profit corporation to attract, encourage and oversee the infrastructure to attract businesses to Nevada.
The board would be run by professional investor partners who would each contribute $1.5 million to the fund. That board would make venture capital investments in companies seeking to locate or grow their business in Nevada.
They also would encourage other investors to participate in the fund in return for a 50 percent tax credit up to $15 million, generating a total of $30 million in investment capital.
He said that means local money invested in local companies with profits returned to the state’s economy.
Despite the 50 percent tax credits, Kieckhefer said the program should generate significant tax revenue long term.
SB354, he said, is aimed at making it much easier for licensed professionals in a variety of fields to come to Nevada by letting them be “licensed by endorsement” if they’re a licensed professional in good standing in another state. He said Nevada requires licenses for 55 different occupations.
“Thirty percent of workers in this state need a license to do their job,” he said.
But the boards that grant those licenses, even when a candidate is already trained and licensed elsewhere, “can be and often are incredibly protectionist of their industries.”
AB354, he said, would let professionals move here and go to work.
Along those lines, SB222, Kieckhefer said, would limit the scope and duration of “non-compete” agreements in employee contracts to make it easier for people to leave an existing employer and start their own business. He said gaming, healthcare and media outlets are just a few of the industries that have such restrictions in employee contracts.
In addition, SB398 is designed to ensure those entrepreneurs can safely and reliably use “block chain” technology to electronically record transactions. The bill would require courts prevent local governments from imposing a tax or fee on the use of that technology. Block chain is the technology that makes Bitcoin possible.
Kieckhefer said the goal is to make Nevada a destination for entrepreneurs and to provide them the infrastructure, mentoring and other support needed to grow their businesses here.