Gov. Brian Sandoval covers accomplishments, goals in State of State | 2017 Nevada Legislature
Key points in Governor’s address:
$21.4 million for career, technical education at community colleges, including WNC
$43 million for completion and opening of Northern Nevada Veterans Home
$4.5 million for Stewart Indian School project
10 percent excise tax on marijuana sales — all going to education
Tesla gigafactory will expand its operation — leading to 550 additional jobs
$60 million for school voucher program
State will fight Yucca Mountain with all its resources
Missing from Governor’s address:
No mention of Raiders’ possible move to Las Vegas
Gov. Brian Sandoval used his State of the State speech Jan. 17 to announce a major expansion of the Tesla plant at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.
He said Tesla plans to build electric motors and gearboxes for the Model 3 at the Nevada plant. The expansion will add $350 million to the company’s investment and bring an additional 550 employees to western Nevada.
Steve Hill, director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said that’s over and above the company’s existing commitment to provide 6,500 jobs in Nevada.
“This is new money to be invested by Tesla,” said governor’s Chief of staff Mike Willden. He and Hill said the expansion comes without new tax credits or other incentives.
Hill said the addition was proposed by Tesla officials. The company is pretty much at capacity at their California auto manufacturing plant.
Eventually, Hill said, he expects Tesla will have 10,000 workers at the Nevada site.
Sandoval said with Tesla and other major economic development projects, Nevada’s economy has “dramatically improved and we’re growing stronger every day.”
He said the state has had six years of job growth and now has 1.31 million jobs. Sandoval referenced Tesla chair Elon Musk when Musk said in 2014 Nevada was a “Get It Done State.”
“The evidence is undeniable,” Sandoval said. “We are on the right track because we made the right choices.”
Sandoval said key to his economic development goals are the program to provide more and more Nevadans with post-secondary education and career skills that meet the needs of companies such as Tesla. He said right now, just 30 percent of workers have those skills and that double that, 60 percent, will need post secondary education degrees and training to get the jobs economic development is creating.
Sandoval said the list of programs he has proposed will add money for advanced training, nursing and other jobs to accomplish those goals at not only the two universities but Nevada’s four community colleges.
He praised state workers who, since the start of the recession, endured unpaid furloughs, cancellation of step increases, merit and longevity pay among other cuts. He said in some cases, those reductions amounted to a 30 percent less pay and benefits.
He said he was able to restore step increases and end furloughs in 2015 and give minimal pay raises. He said now it’s time to give workers 2 percent in each of the next two years “to recognize the dedication of our state employees.”
Kevin Ranft representing the AFSCME union for public workers said that raise is “a good start.”
“We’re grateful to the governor for recognizing state employees,” he said.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.