I’ve lived through the anti-Vietnam years in the 1960s, the gas crisis of the 1970s, the real estate meltdown in the late 1980s, and the Great Recession of 2008, but have never seen anything like the pandemic of COVID-19 in my lifetime. To ease the impact, we must do the following to get the Nevada economy back on track.
1. Support our governor on the shut-down order.
First, we need to stop the bleeding of COVID-19 and get the infection trends moving downward as soon as possible. As a lifelong Republican, I believe in limited government and individual responsibility. That said, now is not the time to debate the political principles or legal niceties of the governor’s shut-down order. In a crisis, the best decisions are made too late, and never are as effective as a good decision made and implemented quickly. I can only imagine the stress under which our governor is working, but he has a key quality no one can deny — fortitude. He’s a good man with top-notch medical advisers. Is he tough and hard-nosed? Yes, but that’s the exact kind of leader we need right now. If you’re a business owner or principal, for the sake of Nevada, our future and our children’s future, comply with the governor’s shut down and help your employees and community as much as possible.
2. Increase and extend unemployment benefits.
For all of our loyal employees who have been laid off, they need help and need it now. I read that the average weekly unemployment check is under $400. That won’t cover rent and food in Reno or Las Vegas for even the smallest apartment, and requires an immediate change. Whether it’s federal or state funding mechanisms, the amount of those checks needs to double, immediately. Furthermore, we need to extend the term of eligibility to 24 months, as the projections I’ve seen indicate our economy may not recover to a stable situation for 12 to 18 months. Putting this additional cash into the pockets of those good people out of work will not only keep food on their table. it will help power our state economy through recovery.
3. Focus on saving, sustaining and enabling the major employers.
Once the governor’s shut down is lifted, government leaders must focus on getting the major employers and facilities, such as casinos and large manufacturers, up and running to immediately return people to work. We need to make sure these companies feel appreciated and confident to stay in Nevada for the long haul. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) should strategize to help large employers rehire, restaff and restart, which will help jump start small business through powerful payrolls and large service contracts. For instance, Tahoe-Reno Industrial Centers’ annual payroll is nearly $1 billion, a number that can massively impact small business.
I send my best thoughts to everyone, and hope all Nevadans and their families stay safe and healthy.
Lance Gilman is a principal of and exclusive broker for Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center (TRI), the home of Tesla, Google, Switch, Wal-Mart, Blockchains and 140 other major companies. Gilman is the exclusive broker and development team leader for TRI II, a new 15,000-acre industrial project in Fernley. Also, he is the owner of the Mustang Ranch, a Nevada brothel.