There is a fair amount to digest below, so sit back and enjoy the ride. Or you can check out your InstaGram and Facebook memes.
First, The Tax Rollback Back Story…
The final Commissioners meeting of 2014 was noteworthy for a number of reasons. Bill Sjovangen and Bill Maddox were finally taking their rightful seat in the rear view mirror. Jack McGuffey’s fanny was getting it’s first taste of the plushness of his freshly minted Commissioners seat. However, in light of events during the two most recent Commissioner meetings, the most noteworthy statements made by the county leadership cabal on December 2, 2014 discuss; 1) Property Tax Rollbacks and 2) Compensation Study to enrich the bank accounts of the most deserving people in his realm, those holding “Key Storey County Management Positions”* That’s right. Since Storey County was the richest county in the world in 2014, it was proposed to both roll back taxes and giving raises to the top tier of salary earners. If you could bet on one of these two things happening, which one would you (literally) put your money on?
Mustang Ranch Brothel Owner, TRIC Real Estate Salesman and County Commissioner Lance Gilman began by going on the record with the first of his two announcements; that he was directing county employees to conduct a study on the happy notion of rolling back property taxes in light of the crushing economic success of TRIC’s signing Tesla** and other companies to the Center. Below I have provided the audio of his welcome effort:
Let’s hone in on this part:
“Its my belief that the time is right to put a plan in place for all residents of Storey County to share in the financial success of TRIC and this Tesla transaction. It’s my opinion that all too often government simply grow and grow and grow and government always seems to need more money, and to raise more taxes and fees and to create more regulation.
So I’m suggestion today that it is a plan of all of ours here to establish an atmosphere in our little Storey County that government be only as large as it needs to be in order to provide the key government services that we all need desire and want. We definitely need to protect our public to a high level and that taxes and fees should be lowered when the circumstances allow government to do that.
Growth in the size and scope of government and higher taxes is not the inevitable result of success by private business owners in a local community and economy. I believe it’s time to start sharing our wealth.”
I have been banging on this drum every chance I get because, as is customary with the elected political elite, the talk doesn’t match the walk.
I don’t have enough fingers and toes to keep track of the times I have heard that Storey County is the richest county in the entire United States. As an eternal skeptic my reply is: Got Facts? I am pretty sure Douglas County crushes us here in little ‘ol Nevada. For those of us in the audience who have been to Connecticut or the Hamptons, I am pretty sure there are individual households there with more liquid assets tied up in the silverware drawer than we have seen around here since like 1872.
As a person who believes Taxation Is Theft, the notion of rolling taxes back warms the icy regions of my two-sizes-too-small heart; I hear about cutting taxes and get all juicy. People tell me that this statement has been made by Mr. Gilman since the campaign of his first election in 2012. Sadly, we sit here in 2017 with the same empty words and no tax rollback. Jack McGuffey is heard claiming he ran on the same tough on taxes platform. Listen to 2014 campaign forums between Nicole Barde and Jack McGuffey here and here to see if you can find the place where he can be heard making such statements. I am told that in no ad he ran or in any exchange he had publicly can such a statement be heard. If you have a copy of the paper that makes such statements, send it my way so I can correct this piece. Please.
On the heels of the December 2, 2014 proclamation, Santa Claus Gilman delivered this Christmas letter to his willing subjects:
In fact after the 60 days had come and passed (actually a little over a year and 60 days), on April 19th, 2016, Nicole Barde made note of the lack of follow through on the part of the Commissioners by asking about a report that Kris Thompson, Gilman operative, referred to on the Virginia City Highlands Chat Group. The interaction during public commentary at the end of this meeting is revealing:
So according to Kris Thompson, TRIC executive and not County Commissioner Gilman dropped nearly 20k to produce a report whose express purpose was to justify tax rollbacks for Storey County Taxpayers and not one person holding “Key Storey County Management Positions” has a copy? Has seen a copy? Has even a foggy notion of what the report contains?
This will respond to Ms. Barde’s post where she claims Lance has been “overselling” the economic success of Storey County, and that his statements at the hearing on the budget about the economic outlook are different from those statements he made last year, and she even includes one statement he made in 2014. Storey County in the last 15 years has been wildly successful, going from the poorest County in Nevada, to the richest as far jobs/resident (more than 1.5 jobs per resident) (considering there are 4500+/- residents, that represents 6750 jobs total in the count; since people have jobs outside TRIC, Big Whoopie Ding Dong) and capital investment per resident (but not where it counts; in wealth). And up until this year it has looked good. The agenda item under discussion was the budget for NEXT YEAR. Not now, not three months ago, and not 2014. Next budget year – beginning July 1, 2016 (I call pants on fire. The agenda item has never borne fruit. As the facts contained in the audio you will hear below reflect, today we are in Budget Year 2018-19, sans rollback. Flaming. Pants).This may be a shock to Ms. Barde, but the economic outlook for next year is not identical to this current year or to last year. Sales and construction cycles are not identical year to year (yes, shocking).Then Ms. Barde claims Lance’s request a year and a half ago to look at some tax relief for residents has been declared dead. Not true. At Lance’s request and direction, we at TRI spent $19,000 with an independent outside consultant doing our own study of ways for Storey County residents to get some tax reductions without harming revenue to the County from businesses at TRI. Lance put his money behind his statements (money behind statements but not actual action; in Texas they call guys like Lance “All Hat, No Cattle”). In addition, Lance fully supports the comptrollers recent idea for a tax rebate program and will continue to push for it. He thinks residents, who are stakeholders in the success of the County, should be able to realize benefits from the economic success in the County. Lance feels that if businesses in the County, the County government, and County employees are sharing in the success by seeing increases in their revenue, so should residents see some reduction in their tax obligations to the County (to date this remains pure fantasy)
Here is Comptroller Gallagher with the bad news for Jack’s re-election campaign and the editor of The Teller asking why it took so long to wait to the last minute of the last hour on the last day for the Property Tax Rollback to happen anyway…
So there you have it. As Jack points out, at least we aren’t raising taxes…
Quick timeline review:
- December 2, 2014 commission meeting Lance Gilman commands the staff to do a study on a tax rollback – nothing happens
- In the same meeting a compensation study is commissioned to increase the pay of key Storey County Management positions – this happens
- December 17, 2014 Lance Gilman sends out his Yuletide proclamation of abundance declaring that “the massive near term capital investments” of TRI companies should result in tax decreases – nothing happens
- April 2016 Kris Thompson declaring that Lance Gilman has privately funded a $19,000 study to determine how to to give Storey county residents a tax cut – nothing happens, the report’s existence is denied by the commission.
- June 20, 2017 Jack McGuffey demands an immediate tax rollback so he can meet his prior campaign promises which results in a special meeting being called to determine if it can be done in the 2017/018 tax year – nothing happens
- June 30, 2017 during the special tax meeting it is determined that no tax rollback can be made in this tax year and that a resolution needs to be made in the next meeting to plan for a plan to roll back taxes over 10 years. Will something meaningful in terms of a juicy tax cut actually happen this time? (spoiler alert: nothing happened)
Any way you slice it, here we sit, in last place. As usual.
How you like them Onions, Storey County?
* Part Two of this story will dive into the compensation of “Key Storey County Management Positions”. Fun!
** If you think Tesla would have set up shop in the land of the merry TRICsters with out Governor Sandoval signing over Storey County Tax Revenues for 10 and 20 years, you simply aren’t paying close enough attention.
Mad Props to Jed Margolin for his excellent site without which this article would not be possible.