ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

As Nevada’s economy recovers from the pandemic, Sisolak doubled down on a multi-pronged economic development vision. Part of the plan included immediate relief for businesses and individuals under stress through the Pandemic Emergency Technical Support (PETS) small business grant program, which got a funding boost through AB106 and doled out $100 million as of the end of the session.

Lawmakers unanimously passed a bill, AB484, earmarking $54 million in federal funds to upgrade unemployment computer programming within the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). And they approved a measure, SB461, earmarking $335 million to pay back a federal loan taken out to keep jobless benefits flowing; the move is expected to prevent employers from paying higher tax rates to pay back the loan.

Lawmakers also passed AB184, a bill establishing a small business advocacy center that Sisolak proposed. The lieutenant governor will oversee the office, which will act as a clearinghouse for questions from owners of businesses with 100 or fewer employees. 

Sisolak hopes to boost the economy by fast-tracking pending infrastructure projects that would create jobs (including adding $75 million to a previously created but never funded State Infrastructure Bank), as well as focusing on renewable energy development and storage.

Though the governor proposed creating “Innovation Zones,” a concept backed by Blockchains LLC that consists of autonomous political subdivisions that agree to create a new tax stream on an innovative technology, the idea was repackaged and approved as a study.

Sisolak also said he wanted to create a “Nevada Job Force” to develop job training programs that can redirect workers into emerging fields. The idea materialized into AB450, which Sisolak signed into law.

Not all economic development bills were received with open arms. AB449, a bill that attempted to balance out billions of dollars offered to corporations in the form of abatements or subsidies by reining in tax incentives, died without a committee vote.