The evidence is overwhelming — Bill Foley is a bright guy with an eye for business details. His record of success is admirable; so is his reputation as a stand-up guy who is willing to support all that’s good and right in a community.
He’s also the guy eager to put a major league hockey team in the new MGM-AEG arena.
No, I’m not backing away from my position that the National Hockey League won’t succeed here for long but I’m willing to stipulate that if any one’s pencil is sharp enough to make a run at it, Foley is the dude. And you’ve got to root for the guy.
So it seemed a no-brainer that the governor’s economic development office would sign off — unanimously — on $755,000 in incentives and tax breaks to help Foley relocate his non-title insurance investment business to Las Vegas.
And that’s exactly what it was — a no-brainer. That’s a government decision based on checked boxes, not common sense.
Team Foley did nothing wrong. This business unit is all about diversification — in restaurants and payroll processing and other ventures that promise high returns. And filing this request had a high return.
One calculation suggests the state will realize $1,096 for every dollar in tax breaks.
There’s just one small detail here. Since last year, Foley has been very public about his plans for a hockey team in Las Vegas. Early this year, he said he was buying a home in Summerlin. A month ago, he announced he was moving this business unit here.
So why is the state now pitching in $755,000 to help underwrite a fait accompli? Isn’t this money designed to help nudge companies off the fence?
Nobody knows how that billion-dollar investment in wooing Tesla will look in a decade. But at least it was clearly a step that was necessary to land a big company that had other options.
In the case of Foley’s company, was somebody in the governor’s office afraid Foley might set up shop in Kingman unless the state wrote a check?
No, this was simply a gift of state money that could have been used more wisely elsewhere.