Thursday, July 2, 2009

How your City or State can raise lots of money fast!

Want to fix the nation? We can't (us, the common men and women). Well, not directly. We've pushed power so far away from us for so many years now that it's too far and too big for any of us independently to have an effect on. But, we do have power locally. And, if we change how we manage things locally, eventually that philosophy will spread and may ultimately affect the rest of the country.

Question: Which counted more? Your vote in the presidential election or your vote in your state's congressional district? Your vote in your state's congressional district or your vote in your county? Your vote in your county or your vote in your city? It's funny, in politics, we seem to worry the most about what we can affect the least. Most busy people take a little time to study national politics but know almost nothing about their local politics. Yet, it's their local politics they can affect the most. If we start paying attention to our local politics and issues and getting involved there first, we can make a difference.

Since I live in Nevada, let's talk about Nevada for a moment. The city of Las Vegas has NOTHING to offer except a couple of simple things. One - it allows gaming. Two - it's in a state which has no income taxes. Other than that, compared with other states, you have mostly nothing but sand and heat. Las Vegas was a city that had almost no growth until gangsters got hold of it and established a "anything goes" reputation and lifestyle. As a get away for people who needed an adult scale break, Las Vegas grew and grew and grew. Las Vegas has now gone from a gaming mecca to an adult Disneyland on steroids. But the city is now much more now than just a destination. Businesses lured by low taxes, less regulations, simple business requirements and fair employment rules have flocked to Nevada's major cities at an almost choking pace.

With this influx of people and businesses, which primarily came from California, came their laws and ideas about how to run a state (run it into the ground). Nevada is now seriously considering enacting a payroll tax. Our governor, Jim Gibbons, who is one of the few governors with enough balls to say NO to all the ignorant state agency crybabies screaming for more money, has been beat down by the equally ignorant media for doing the right thing. Then to further his plight, steamrolled by our newly liberal legislature which has now pushed through an encyclopedia set like volume of new laws and money grubbing regulations despite his vetoes.

I originally titled this piece, "Taxes + more regulations + loss of freedoms = 0". But I thought this idea may actually inspire some cities that are close to death so I changed it in hopes that it might catch the eye of someone in power. Fact, all humans want to live where life is easy. Businesses are no different. What things can change in Nevada's policies to make life easier and business easier? Let's face it, if life is easy and business is easy, compared to everywhere else, it would be like a gold rush here. Think about this for a moment.

Do higher taxes make lives easier or business easier? Does more regulation make life easier or business easier? Do more laws make life easier or business easier? If a dieing town wanted to raise money to make improvements, what would happen if, instead of raising taxes (eating itself) it did something completely out-of-the box. If it auctioned off a city block that had a 10 year contract permitting any type of legal business operating on that block to be taxed at a lower rate (or none) and guaranteed less or no interference from inspectors, etc. and no licensing or reporting requirements? Of course, the town can only limit taxes and regulations for that block that are within it's control. It can not reduce state or federal taxes, etc. But, how much would that city block be worth compared to any other city block without this contract if it were auctioned off? And, what if a city block could be actually free if from local, state and federal taxes? Freed from local, state and federal regulations? How much would it be worth then? The final auction price would be astronomical! This parcel could be in the crappiest part of town - it wouldn't matter. It doesn't even need to be land - it can be just the contract, to be assigned to land. A contract of non-intervention.

Of course there are the arguments that crime would run rampant, safety would be nonexistent and the site would probably be toxic and have a 5000 year radioactive half-life. Those are the fear mongering arguments. Those arguments could actually be applied to places like Mexico, Brazil and China. Yet, millions of tourists visit those countries every year without any such realizations. Tthere was a time not too long ago here in Nevada when Casino security was trusted as much as the city police. Thus, the city police force did not need to be as large, as costly or as overbearing.

I don't think that anyone would argue that this mythical city block would be bought by a business - if anything because they have the most money to bid. If the business wanted to realize the value of the proposition, it knows that people will have to go there, be it employees and possibly customers. Thus it must be attractive to those groups. To make money, it has to do business with the outside world so it has to at least be civil with it's neighbors or it won't receive vital services like phone, data, water and power. What would that city block be.. worth....? How many more city blocks could you sell like that one before the value started to come down due to an abundance of the opportunity?

If you think this is a completely impossible feat, then ask yourself, "how can we create deals like this for the Indians (reservations) and not ourselves?"

The next question is, what would the city then do with that money? :)

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