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Brookings Mountain West In The News
Eight years ago, news outlets roundly declared that the Great Recession killed the Las Vegas dream, or at least mauled it. They described swaths of darkness in the Strip’s sea of lights, with unemployment and foreclosure rippling from an epicenter of stalled construction. Gaming and tourism took heavy losses as budgets tightened. The boomtown busted, and the state with it.
The latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index says Las Vegas has enjoyed 24 percent increase in prices over 2012. But that may not all be good news. What if the city is facing another housing bubble? What if this is destined to collapse again after another flurry of speculation? When is the time to buy?
Not long after UNLV held a program called Game Change about “how Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute are Reframing Policy in Southern Nevada,” I learned that the Tony Roma’s on East Sahara Avenue had closed.
Gerald Gardner, the governor’s chief of staff, told the Nevada Senate Finance Committee on June 2 that he “disagrees that there is disparity in the distribution of (highway) construction money (between Clark County and the rest of the state).” Rudy Malfabon, head of Nevada’s Department of Transportation, echoed this claim and submitted data that showed a rough parity based on taxes paid in the “state highway construction funds in the past five years.” These misleading statements suggest the appearance of equity in state road construction money, ignore huge disparities in highway maintenance funds and exclude massive expenditures of federal dollars.
Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell says Las Vegas has the potential to be a “sleeper city,” that is, one that surprises the rest of the country and the world with its innovation and industry.
Who keeps more of Southern Nevada’s federal tax money — Washington, D.C., or Carson City? Turns out it’s a toss-up. So how do we fix the problem? With D.C., we need to get in the game. With Carson City, we need to change the game.
For a region scarred with high unemployment and a struggling education system, free money from the federal government for community colleges to retrain unemployed workers for high-wage, high-skill jobs would seem like a perfect fit for Southern Nevada. So college officials had that covered, right?
Living alone? You've got company. More than one in four households had just a single person in 2012, greater than at any time in the past century, according to new Census Bureau findings. In 1970, one-person households accounted for just under one in six. In 1900, it was one in 20.
As Las Vegas and Southern Nevada continue to emerge from the Great Recession, our regional leaders are engaging in a concerted effort to acquire the basic urban infrastructure needs essential for our growth. The opportunity is here to promote economic diversification while gauging infrastructure assets and deficits. On the plus side, Las Vegas possesses a high-capacity and globally connected airport and a world-class performing arts center, and a major downtown redevelopment effort is underway. Our region is, of course, home to the largest convention and hotel complex in the U.S.
The comeback continues. Las Vegas made solid progress in its economic recovery in the third quarter, according to the Brookings Mountain West Mountain Monitor, a report that tracks the economies of 10 cities in the Intermountain West.
When the City Sports running store opened here in 2006, then-manager Cami Walker found himself "begging people to come in." The store was one of the first in the new Harbor East neighborhood near the popular Inner Harbor tourist zone.
Jim Wheeler represents Gardnerville, a little town of 5,600 people about a half-hour east of Lake Tahoe, in the Nevada Assembly. Last fall, he gained instant national notoriety when a video surfaced in which he said he would vote to support slavery if that’s what his constituents wanted. He was roundly criticized by media outlets both national and local, as well as leaders of his own party. Wheeler soon apologized.
Growing up in this starchy historic city in the 1990s, Jessica Duggan remembers field trips with her mother to the historic Battery neighborhood, watching tourists "doing the horse thing and the market thing." She dreamed of staying here as an adult, but had to admit: Her hometown was hopelessly uncool.
A week does not go by without some national or international news outlet heralding the impending demise of Southern Nevada as a result of the relentless drought that has plagued the Colorado River system for well over a decade. These stories are fueled in part by declarations made by some scientists that Lake Mead could “empty” by as early as 2025. The belief appears to be that the only location at risk as a result of this drought is Southern Nevada. There seems to be little, if any, understanding of the dominoes that begin to fall if crucial reservoir elevations are reached in Lake Mead. Although initially amused by the silliness of this storyline, I quickly became concerned that not only could the creation of this mythology hurt Southern Nevada’s economy, but lull citizens in downstream communities — both urban and agricultural — into believing that this situation does not affect them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What a difference four years makes. In Fall 2010, Brookings Mountain West began program planning for a statewide gathering to discuss the broken Nevada economy. In January 2011, UNLV hosted an event—Nevada 2.0—in coordination with Brookings Mountain West, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Secretary of State, and newly elected Governor Sandoval’s economic development advisors. Nevada was the state most damaged by the Great Recession. The state’s GDP stood well below its 2007 high and there appeared no immediate path to restore prosperity. But the Great Recession also provided Nevada a chance to rethink its entire approach to economic development.
It’s no secret in the Las Vegas technology scene: It’s difficult to find qualified candidates for top engineering jobs. That was confirmed in a Metropolitan Policy Program and Brookings Mountain West study released today titled, “Cracking the Code on STEM: A People Strategy for Nevada’s Economy."
Nevada has the STEM jobs, but many Nevadans don’t have the skill or education to land them. That’s the conclusion of a Metropolitan Policy Program and Brookings Mountain West study, being released today, titled “Cracking the Code on STEM: A People Strategy for Nevada’s Economy.”
Nevada’s success in convincing Tesla Motors to locate its new lithium-ion battery gigafactory in Storey County made headlines this fall, as did the $1.3 billion incentive package state legislators authorized. This mixture of tax abatements, infrastructure investments and other incentives stands as the largest in Nevada’s history.
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