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 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!

Contact Vice-President Knight Allen

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