Sandoval Unveils Economic Development Plan

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Gov. Brian Sandoval said he wants to
create 50,000 jobs by 2014, a challenge he issued Tuesday in
unveiling a statewide economic development strategy that focuses on
regionalizing development efforts and broader marketing of Nevada's
business attributes.

The plan is "a blueprint for building a vibrant, sustainable
economy for all Nevadans," Sandoval said at a news conference at
the University of Nevada, Reno. "It puts us in a better position
to succeed in the hyper-competitive push to champion a strong
economy that creates good jobs."

"Moving Nevada Forward: A plan for Excellence in Economic
Development," is the result of AB449, a law pushed by the first
term Republican governor to overhaul the state's economic
development efforts.

It comes as Nevada continues to lead the nation in unemployment,
bankruptcies and foreclosures. Nevada's jobless rate fell to 12.6
percent in December - down from a record 14.9 percent a year
earlier - but 166,000 remained out of work.

The law, which had bipartisan support, elevates the state's
economic development director to a cabinet level position and
provides for a coordinated approach with regional agencies. It also
provided for a $10 million "catalyst fund" to create economic

The plan sets out goals for the next three years and a framework
to coordinate efforts between government agencies, the private
sector and education systems.

"We have one of the most attractive business climates in the
United States," Sandoval said. "It's up to us to capitalize on
that fact."

To that end, the plan calls for the Governor's Office of
Economic Development to focus on "branding and communicating"
Nevada's economic advantage.

The office, led by Economic Development Director Steve Hill,
"will strive to ensure that the state's regulatory environment
does not inappropriately hamper business or impede job creation,"
the document said, and a working group will be formed to "provide
advice about proposed laws and existing regulations."

By July 1, the office also intends to hire at least five
industry specific specialists to help regional development agencies
better target their efforts.

Past economic development strategies have focused primarily on
convincing out-of-state businesses to relocate to Nevada, a
strategy that typically generates less than 5 percent to 7 percent
of job creation, Hill said.

The other 95 percent comes from helping existing business to
grow and new businesses to start, he said.

"We are asking these new regional development authorities to
take on that responsibility in the regions," Hill said.

The plan follows a report release last fall that highlighted
Nevada's strengths and key industries, but also pointed out
familiar weaknesses, such as an underperforming education system
and a narrow and volatile economic base susceptible to extreme
boom-or-bust cycles.

That report also identified core industries as having
"plausible potential" for economic growth and diversification:
tourism, health and medical services, business information
technology, clean energy, mining and manufacturing, logistics, and
aerospace and defense.

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