You may have heard: for the second time in 15 months, Governor Brian Sandoval has called a special session of the Nevada Legislature to approve an incentives package for an electric car company to set up shop in Nevada. In September of 2014 it was Tesla moving to the Reno area, today it’s Faraday Future hoping to become North Las Vegas’ newest resident.
Like Tesla, we are giving up A LOT of our tax money to bring this company here. It could mean a lot of good paying jobs for Southern Nevada, and we want to make sure there are mechanisms in place to ensure that the deal does just that.
Here’s the letter we sent to legislators:
With the rush to subsidize Faraday Future’s move to Nevada, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada urges moving forward with caution. There are many questions that remain unanswered, as well as possible policy solutions that could ensure the best outcomes for local Nevadans. For a non-Nevadan company whose product remains unseen and performance and skills unproven, it is only just and responsible that they adhere to protections to put our people and planet first.
Local Hiring. We applaud and encourage the requirement that local Nevadans comprise at least half the workforce, both during construction and plant operations. When we hire locals, more money will be spent here and stimulate the Nevadan economy. More specifically, we want to see North Las Vegans win in this deal. A community that is predominately people of color and a community with below average per capita income, the City of North Las Vegas should see the benefits of their residents gaining full-time, sustainable employment. It follows that residents of North Las Vegas should be given prioritized opportunity when it comes to first source hiring.
How will the 50% Nevadan workforce minimum be insured? Data collection and accountability will be key parts of the process and legislation should require quarterly reporting. A suggestion for data collection would be to include diversity questions and employee zip codes to confirm that employees are representative of the local population and are hired locally. Penalties and removal of subsidies should occur if they fail to comply with reporting standards.
Good Jobs. In addition to employing Nevadans, it is also important that employees are earning a living wage, are employed full-time and have access to health care. Reports indicate that jobs at Faraday will average $22 per hour. As part of the national movement to raise the minimum wage, we welcome higher-paying jobs in our state. However, we want to hold Faraday accountable to their promises long term. Additionally, we want to guarantee that the statistics accurately reflect employee incomes by setting a wage standard for non-managerial positions. If top-level management and engineers’ incomes are combined with minimum wages, an average could be deceiving on paper. Finally, full-time sustainable work should be a demand. Part time employment, unpredictable hours, rampant use of outside contractors, and barriers to health care would only contribute to the cycle of poverty.
Again, quarterly reporting for transparency in wages and hours will improve accountability. Including provisions for a minimum percentage of full time positions and a base rate of pay within the legislation will guarantee good jobs for our community. Penalties and rescission of subsidies must protect taxpayer investments if the company fails to comply.
Small Business. Taxpayer subsidies for big corporations like Tesla and Faraday tilts the playing field against long-standing Nevada-based small businesses. Why not prioritize public spending on investments to benefit all employers such as education, job training and transportation? Additionally, developing transportation to the job site should be part of the planning process. Ideally, the employer should be responsible for workforce training and transportation, not the taxpayers.
Environment. Chinese billionaire investor, Jia Yueting, said in a letter to the Nevada Legislature that their product “…protects the earth and improves the living environment of mankind, so everyone can breathe clean air…” If preserving our planet is part of their mission, why not require Faraday to lead in areas outside of electric cars, such as renewable energy, water conservation, etc.?
Education. Reports indicate that Faraday agrees to pay $1 million into K-12 education over six years starting in 2018. Money to support our educational system has proven a priority for our governor, our legislators and our communities. It is critical that we guarantee this promise of income to public, not private or religious, education in Nevada through legislative directive.
Infrastructure. Finally, taxpayers must not shoulder the burden of inevitable mistakes, such as over-allocation of groundwater, stemming from rapidly building an industrial park miles from infrastructure. Apex developers and wealthy corporations should pay their own bills and cease relying on Nevada taxpayers and workers to bail them out.
Send us your thoughts PLANistas, we’d love to hear your perspective: firstname.lastname@example.org