A Taxing Situation
by Vice President Knight Allen
Originally published on November
12, 2015 - reprinted with permission
Several years ago I found myself in a private meeting with a couple of pretty high profile spokespersons
representing large gaming corporation..
This was by no means a regular occurrence for me and I can't even remember the circumstances that got me into
the room. I was probably writing about how the industry was throwing its weight around at the legislature and
may have caught the company's attention.
These were two very bright, intelligent and personable young people and they went about the business of
explaining to me how the system really works, you know, the way so many "No
Taxes!" Republicans were "educated"
after they got to Carson City this year. Of course they weren't telling me anything I didn't already know and
understand. If I didn’t understand the system then I couldn't write well enough in opposition to it to catch
their eye in the first place; could I?
So, this "education of the peasant" meeting went on for a while (it really didn't take too long) and in what
turned out to be the closing statement the lead rep stood in front of me, looked me right in the eye and said:
"There is nothing we won't do to maximize the return to our shareholders."
How was I supposed to respond to that? After all, it's an axiomatic statement. It was like telling me the
world is round, it revolves around the sun which rises in the east and sets in the west and capitalists will
do anything to maximize their returns. So, there I sat probably looking pretty stupid while they, I'm sure,
felt quite pleased about how the meeting had gone. We then exchanged pleasantries and went our separate ways.
I relate this to you because I saw a report in the RJ on 10/16/2015. The headline read "Former Governor to
head energy group." The group is called the "Nevada Coalition to Protect Ratepayers." It's headed by former
one term Governor Robert List and was created by - are you ready for this? - Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands
and Solar City. The minute I saw those names I flashed back to my "Twilight Zone" experience years ago:
"There is nothing we won't do..... "According to the article these corporate champions of the little guy
are going to protect Nevada ratepayers against NV Energy’s excessive profits and will promote more competition
for all consumers.
What a load of trash. This group, backed by multi-billionaires, exists for one purpose only and that's to fatten
the bottom line of each of its corporate members. Don't get me wrong. I'm not painting NVEnergy as some sort of
poor oppressed victim here. They're playing the exact same game on behalf of Grandpa Warren's Berkshire Hathaway.
It seems to me the only chance we have is with the accounting staffs of the PUC and the AG's Office of Consumer
Protection. We can only hope they don't fall victim to the politicization of this process and will come up with
numbers that have at least some basis in reality.
Meanwhile, as long as we don't get suckered by the PR nonsense coming our way it could be fun watching these
T-Rex's battling it out. Just remember that everything they say and do is governed by that one overriding
principle: "There is nothing we won't do to maximize the return to our shareholders."
I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy yourselves!
Vice-President Knight Allen
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