I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.
- Ebenezer Scrooge
Winter has taken hold, especially on the I-15 at Cajon Pass, and like a car in a blizzard, we are heading toward the new year, forward, sideways, or otherwise, whether we like it or not. And, as is tradition on the precipice of a new year, we reflect on the year that was, and look toward the future with ambitious goals…and swear off carbs, yet again, until at least noon on New Year’s Day. 2019 has been a confusing paradox, loaded with bustle and tranquility, commotion and silence. Yet, as the new year dawns, NAIOP’s sustained successes and objectives have become clearer. Measured by the ground we covered in 2019, NAIOP’s 2020 looks as bright and busy as a turn-of-the-century street in the newly fallen snow.
2019 started with a jolt, as the 80th Nevada Legislative Session convened. Almost immediately, NAIOP’s position became primarily defensive on most pending legislation relating to residential issues bled into commercial real estate contexts, and various employment and employee pay bills were originally drafted as overreaching. Working with the sponsors and a coalition of stakeholders, most of this legislation was amended favorably. However, as the 2019 Session waned, a new threat emerged; legislation eliminating the sunset of certain modified business taxes. Although this legislation passed, it gave rise to lawsuits, and set a precedent for raising revenue without formally introducing and vetting a tax increase, ensuring the ghosts of the present look remarkably similar to those of the past.
The ghosts of the present pushed precedent a step forward in July 2019, when the Southern Nevada Water Authority requested NAIOP’s support in requesting that Clark County eliminate a sunset on a quarter-cent sales tax to help pay for infrastructure. Given infrastructure funding is among the core elements of NAIOP’s legislative agenda, and given no legislation providing for infrastructure funding was passed during the 2019 Legislative Session, NAIOP alongside a majority of Southern Nevada business interests, publicly supported this initiative – despite the policy concerns of further galvanizing the precedents created by the ghosts of the past, and adding a few links to Marley’s chain.
Expansion of the disposal boundary was also a major topic of discussion throughout 2019. However, discussion was seemingly the only progress made on this issue. The ghosts of the past will meet the ghosts of the future in February 2020, as Chapter leadership converges on Capitol Hill to meet with Nevada’s federal delegation for our annual day on the Hill.
2020 will be a big year for NAIOP and the ghosts of the future, as election-mania takes hold and caucuses and primaries are held from February to June, and then hits a fever pitch for the general election in November. The GOP swept the nation and won majorities in both legislative houses and every statewide race in Nevada in 2014. Since that time, however, the Democrat party has regained control of both legislative houses and reached a supermajority in the Assembly, won all statewide races but for Secretary of State, and won a US Senate seat. The GOP will seek to obtain more parity at the state level and regain control of the House of Representatives, as Congress tangles with the ghosts of the past and increases the partisan divide.
Locally, NAIOP’s conversations will seek to avoid the ghosts of the past, as we continue to strengthen our relationships within all realms of local government and utilize the knowledge, we have gained to provide meaningful insights and direction regarding development, taxes, and infrastructure. Although political circumstances suggest no appetite for substantial revenue generating legislation, we remain anxious to share our insights with policymakers and continue to represent the commercial real estate industry as thought-leaders on these issues. Additionally, issues affecting the growth and sustainability of the industry, such as business disruptors in the retail sector, need to be thoughtfully monitored and addressed. 2020 is a critical year, as we set the stage to advocate NAIOP’s policy concerns during the 2021 Nevada Legislative Session, and we look forward to sharing the lessons of the past, present and future to help move the dialog forward in a meaningful way.
All the best, during this holiday season.
ODDS & ENDS
On December 26, snow shut down the I-15 at Cajon Pass in California, and Primm in Nevada. Although accumulation totals for this storm are still being tallied, the interstate paralysis it caused made us wonder what the single-day snowfall record is for Las Vegas. The official record was set on January 31, 1979, when 7.4 inches of snow fell in Las Vegas.
Jon & Kerrie