While we all consider our small community to be a world away from the neon lights and casino floors, Boulder City needs a vibrant Vegas to keep our economic engine running.
Last month, I had the chance to attend two great, forward-thinking events focused on our regional economy. The region’s largest economic development event, the 43rd annual Las Vegas Perspective, was held June 15. Hosted by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), more than 850 participants learned more about steps being taken to be a global leader in conservation and sustainability initiatives across the region.
Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst with Applied Analysis, told the group that Nevada leads the nation in employment growth at 4.1%. He said $32.3 billion in development projects are currently underway in the Las Vegas area. He credited diversification for building a stronger, more resilient economy in our region.
The second event, the United States Conference of Mayors Small Business Roundtable, was held June 27. The participants focused on the struggles that small business owners have faced in recent years: access to financial resources, addressing worker shortages and more. The mayors of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Mesquite and the mayor pro tem of Henderson sat with the leaders of the region’s Chambers of Commerce, including BC’s Jill Lagan. The group discussed their concerns, including education, training, and affordable housing. When I left the roundtable, it reaffirmed my drive to make sure our young adults come into the workforce prepared, and that they can afford to stay in the Las Vegas region.
Add to the mix the growing pro sports industry in our region. The UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research released a report on the impact of sports on our regional economy. Researchers found that those visiting Las Vegas for sporting events spent $1.8 billion last year. Vegas just wrapped up the Stanley Cup finals, and will host Formula 1 racing in November and the Super Bowl next year. “Researchers conservatively forecast a 12.4% increase in employment within performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries from 2022 to 2030. This equates to approximately 2,944 permanent jobs, indicating a promising future for job seekers and individuals interested in career paths in the sports economy.”
Boulder City does not benefit from casino revenue, because gaming is illegal here. We don’t have any college or professional sports teams here. You are probably saying, “So, Joe, this seems fine for the folks over the hill. I don’t want growth, so why should I care?”
First, Boulder City gets about 40% of its revenue from Nevada’s Consolidated Tax, often called C-Tax, mostly collected on the sales of cigarettes and alcohol. The tax is collected statewide, then distributed based on population. Another 35% of our revenues come from solar leases. These two revenue streams have helped keep Boulder City property taxes the lowest in the state. We haven’t had a tax increase in decades.
As we watch Las Vegas diversify, we should look at how we can improve our economy. Tourism spending is back to pre-COVID levels. The energy sector continues to be strong. Hoover Dam helped us develop into the great community that we are today. Less than 20 years ago, the solar industry started leasing land on undeveloped property. Today, businesses are expressing interest in building battery storage facilities for solar power.
So when I say “When Las Vegas is healthy, Boulder City is healthy,” we should all be hoping for the continued success of our neighbors. What benefits them, benefits us.
Joe Hardy is mayor of Boulder City. He previously served in the state Assembly and Senate.