opportunity | ˌäpərˈt(y)o͞onədē | noun (plural opportunities)
a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something: we may see increased opportunities for export | the collection gives students the opportunity of reading works by well-known authors.
• a chance for employment or promotion: career opportunities in our New York headquarters.
I often like to invoke the ghost of French Economist Fredric Bastiat when looking at modern day politics and governmental machinations. Bastiat’s timeless essay “That Which is Seen, That Which is Not Seen” is as prescient a piece of work as I have read in economics. Its thesis suggests that every time government does something, it does so in the name of That Which Is Seen; an act to create good things for people. That Which Is Not Seen happens days or years down the road and tends to be less than good for the people. Unintended consequences and all that.
The O-Zone remains in That Which Is Not Seen Territory
The Washington Post wrote a piece on how folks from the State of Nevada did some fancy arm twisting to convince the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to change around the rules to let Storey County qualify for “stuff” they wouldn’t otherwise qualify for.
This “stuff” is known at an Opportunity Zone, or O-Zone as the hipsters like to call it.
The O-Zone Layer Explained
An opportunity zone is a way of channeling investment funds that would otherwise be taxed to the teeth to help impoverished places in The United States that haven’t bounced back from the recession.
As the New York Times wrote:
The provision, on Page 130 of the tax overhaul, is an attempt to grapple with a yawning hole in the recovery from the Great Recession: the fact that, in huge swaths of the country, the economic recovery has yet to arrive.
The law creates “Opportunity Zones,” which will use tax incentives to draw long-term investment to parts of America that continue to struggle with high poverty and sluggish job and business growth. The provision is the first new substantial federal attempt to aid those communities in more than a decade. And it comes as a disproportionate share of economic growth has been concentrated in so-called superstar metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and New York.
If the zones succeed, they could help revitalize neighborhoods and towns that are starved for investment.
Rural Nevada is full of places like this. Anyone who has been to Lovelock or Battle Mountain or Silver Springs or Austin or Eureka or Pioche or Tonopah or Goldfield recently can see evidence of this. Rural Nevada is on the ropes and sometimes it feels like Mohammed Ali himself is playing rope-a-dope with us.
Recently Storey County Commissioner Candidate Nicole Barde reported about the recent happenings as described by County Manager Pat Whitten and County Commissioner Lance Gilman at the June 19th Storey County Commission Meeting.
In her piece at bardeblog.com, Ms. Barde wrote :
Everything I read about the Opportunity Zone is written from the perspective of the benefit that it offers companies who want to basically shelter their capital gains. They can put those gains into an Opportunity Fund ( operated by the government) essentially tax free until they invest it into an Opportunity Zone. There is nothing that I can find yet that tells me what that looks like for a citizen in an Opportunity Zone, for a small business in an Opportunity Zone or for the local government in an Opportunity Zone. Right now it looks like a way to either repatriate corporate profits or shelter corporate gains. It doesn’t look like it’s a “finished product.”
I pray to God that this isn’t one of those “ we have to pass it before we can read it” things.
Additionally…..it seems that Blockchains is the big dog in this effort. Lance mentioned them in the last two O Zone updates, they were one of those lobbying for the change, he works for them……oh wait….I thought he worked for us..oh wait…what?
After posting a summary of her article on the Virginia City Highlands Chat Group, Gilman’s spokesman Kris Thompson’s head exploded in all directions as usual. In a posting which you can read here and posted at the end of this piece, he went on a tirade where he excoriated Ms. Barde as being an anti-business, anti-Lance Gilman Bay Area radical:
Ms. Barde, a.k.a. “Nancy Pelosi on the Comstock” displays once again that she and Sam Toll are just obsessed with hurting Lance Gilman. They can’t make any post on this blog without going after the man. They really really hate the man. For them, it’s personal. They want to hurt him. They want to gut him.Voters should remember that Ms. Barde is, and always will be, a bay area raving liberal – just like Pelosi. She has shown time and time again that she views business as a mortal enemy, as nothing more than a daily target for her nitpicking. She has never seen a business deal that she likes. Ever. Can you imagine sitting across a table and trying to do business with her?
More on the O-Zone From Commissioner Gilman
Here is Audio/Video from the June 19th Meeting where Gilman explains the O-Zone and how Lyon and Storey County worked together to get Bloxkchains the ability to use those “stranded billions of cryptocurrency dollars into Storey County”.
As the WaPo piece suggests, it remains unclear how exactly this will happen. What is clear from the WaPo piece is how after a $5,000 campaign contribution to Senator Dean Heller was made, things lept into action.
Heller contacted Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval wrote to Mnuchin. Lance Gilman applied a full court press. Things started to move
From the WaPo piece:
Treasury officials had initially deemed that Storey County’s income levels were too high to qualify, based on the metrics they had used to judge every other nomination for the special tax status. But after weeks of prodding from Nevada officials, Treasury relented and gave the designation to Storey County using new data.
Storey County is the only census tract that was able to use the different measurement. Vermont had initially inquired if it could use similar metrics but was told it could not.
The successful campaign to win this lucrative designation illustrates how political pressure can redirect billions of dollars in federal benefits, which are supposed to be distributed in a non-arbitrary manner.
Vermonters are not the only ones not stoked about these actions.
Again, from the WaPo piece:
But several other Nevada business owners are furious at the designation. To push Storey County for the Opportunity Zone designation, Sandoval had to withdraw the April 20 nomination of Dayton, Nev., an economically depressed neighboring community that lacks Storey County’s huge industrial center.
This has led to accusations of unfairness, and several executives said they haven’t gotten the straight story about why their nomination was pulled without their knowledge.
“That would be a concern to me as a Lyon County resident because Lyon County is definitely impoverished compared with Storey,” said John Cassinelli, a Dayton business owner and member of the county’s advisory board. “Storey is reaping a ton of benefit just having the [industrial center] within their county line. They are getting a ton of tax money from those businesses there.”
Looks like TRIC is earning Storey County the ire of our neighbors. Again.
With any piece, some of the best writing comes from the peanut gallery found in the comment section. I took the time to gather a few gems. Here is how the Lance Gilman brokered deal is playing in Peoria:
astronia – The rich getting richer at the expense of the taxpayer. Gilman’s brothel customers aren’t the only ones getting screwed.hushmypuppies – “On June 15, acting IRS commissioner David J. Kautter wrote Sandoval a letter of his own, telling him that they had decided to adjust their process in a way that would allow Storey to qualify.”
But not for Vermont. They must not have greased somebody’s palm enough.
The scum de la scum strike again.rdrdr99 – Apparently, the system still works, Yet, that Heller rolled over for only $5000 is embarrassing. Gilman’s a brothel owner; $5000 is no more than 20 payments from 20 Johns and probably closer to 10. Heller should have insisted on $50,000. The bigger question is did Mnuchin get an envelope and what was in it? Since the Trump administration has been screwing most of us, it’s good to know that if we decide to visit Storey County, we’ll be able to do some screwing on our own.84duck – Makes one wonder the fringe benefits being supplied by Gilman.
God, how low does even a legal prostitute have to go to have to sleep with some GOPer as pay back for the vote?
Hey evangelicals..still finding bible verse to support GOP policies? I’m sure you will here too, especially after your visits to save souls in Nevada.
s tully – Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, IRS Commissioner Kautter, Governor Sandoval, and Senator Heller are allowing corruption in government. Lance Gilman in this case can probably be seen as bribing these officials. All of them should know that what they are doing is wrong; however, with the climate in Washington, D.C. and in many state governments, this seems to be par for the course. The longer this behavior is allowed to continue, the harder it will be to clean up the mess.
a2cjs – I don’t remember Trump campaigning on a Cash for Pimps Program, but it certainly seems fitting.
809212876 – So, the party of family values took a dive for $5k in cash from a Ho House operator to pump billions of cash into a corrupt state to support the specious blockchain fraud.
Can’t make this stuff up.
aechai – Naturally a brothel owner who also happens to be a county commissioner was behind the push on this matter.
middlefellow – Evangelicals provided full backing to the Top Pimp of America, Lance Gilman. I am so proud of all of our Evangelical friends. Child bride, lying, rape, womanizing, is part of their daily workout regiment. Now they can add pimping to their retinue.
sb01 – Storey County once had the designation of one of the 3 most corrupt counties in the country along with Cook County IL, and Jefferson Parrish, LA. However, Storey County has had a windfall with the Reno-Tahoe Industrial Park that houses Tesla’s gigafactory and many more. Storey County does NOT NEED that designation, and, it will only lead to more theft by corrupt county leaders and the kickbacks they will give to our state’s GOP federal office holders.
And my favorite (so far):
directdc – Storey County, wow, home of Virginia City and the largest deposit of silver ever discovered in the US. The Comstock Load still circulates in the US today.
As promised, here is Kris Thompson’s entire message post ripping Nicole “Don’t call me Nancy” Barde: