Just when you thought that 2021 couldn’t get any more bizarre than it has already proven to be, the governor of Nevada just interrupted that thought.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, last month, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak hinted about a legislative idea he’s calling “Innovation Zones,” which on the surface sounds like a fun, new way to attract large tech companies as the state looks to boost its tax revenues and lock in some much-needed growth.
At the time of the initial report, very little information was available about the new idea, but that all changed recently when the aforementioned media outlet obtained a copy of the draft of the legislation. To say it’s shocking would be a massive understatement.
The long story short is that the “Innovation Zones” legislation would allow big tech companies to essentially form their own governments within the state of Nevada. We’re talking about county-level authority — complete with their own court systems, police, school districts, tax authority and everything else a typical American county is able to do.
In his State of the State address, Sisolak pitched the idea as an innovative — if not unconventional — way to attract new companies to the state that are involved in “groundbreaking technologies,” which is probably why he specifically mentioned a company by the name of Blockchains, LLC., a company on the forefront of the increasingly popular blockchain database technology.
By allowing big tech firms to form their own governments, it would allow the state of Nevada to attract these companies without being taken to the farm on tax abatements and other incentives that Nevada — and most other states — use for bait to attract big companies.
In the report, it’s mentioned that Blockchains, LLC has already committed to building a blockchain-based city outside of Reno if Sisolak’s legislation is voted on and passed.
Arguing the need for such an incentive to bring in new companies, the draft legislation clearly details the inadequacy of the current system, saying that the traditional government model is “inadequate alone to provide the flexibility and resources conducive to making the State a leader in attracting and retaining new forms and types of businesses and fostering economic development in emerging technologies and innovative industries.”
The legislation also makes clear that not just any big tech company can form its own government. The rules would limit the formation of such areas in Nevada to companies who deal in “innovative technology,” such as companies that specialize in blockchain, internet of things, autonomous applications, robotics, biometrics and every other trendy tech buzzword of the day.
Even though that sounds somewhat restrictive, it’s really not, as many big tech firms already have R&D divisions for many of those cutting-edge technologies — with Facebook coming to mind as one that dabbles in most of the previously mentioned technologies.
There’s a long list of other eligibility requirements, such as owning a certain amount of land and presumably a long list of financial and tax requirements.
However, the legislation hasn’t even been presented to the state legislature at this point and would have a very long way to go before becoming a reality. But in 2021, I think it’s safe to say that we shouldn’t be surprised by much these days.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org