Wild mustangs play on the hills at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center in Sparks, Nev., where Tesla Motors has broken ground as a possible place to build a $5 billion ``gigafactory'' to make lithium batteries for its electric cars. / AP Photo/Scott Sonner
RENO-- Leaders for right-leaning Nevada Policy Research Institute and the left-leaning Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada said the anticipated deal to lure a Tesla Motors factory to Northern Nevada has the potential to be bad for Nevada taxpayers.
The Nevada Legislature is expected to go into a special session next week to approve a deal where Tesla would build its "gigafactory" at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Complex. It is expected to employ 6,500 workers.
"Why would lawmakers want to take from poor and middle-class families to subsidize a billionaire making cars for millionaires?" NPRI's Geoffrey Lawrence said, adding that most Nevadans won't be able to afford Tesla automobiles.
Lawrence questioned the legality of a looming deal between the state and Tesla.
"While the specifics of what Gov. Sandoval seeks on (Tesla CEO Elon) Musk's behalf have yet to be made clear, the state constitution specifically prohibits politicians from handing tax dollars to private companies," he said.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has called a news conference for 7 p.m. ET Thursday in Carson City where the deal is expected to be announced.
PLAN's Bob Fulkerson said he was dismayed at the lack of transparency in the negotiations between Sandoval's office and Tesla.
He added he was shocked the state would be so willing to accommodate Musk when it seems so difficult to fund public education.
"The lack of transparency is disturbing," Fulkerson said. "Why is it so easy for them to get called into a special session to give $500 million to a corporation? Why isn't it that easy to raise taxes to fund education?"
COST OF A SPECIAL SESSION
A one day special session will cost taxpayers about $25,000 to $40,000, depending on the amount of overtime needed to complete the deal, said Rick Combs, the director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau. Each additional day would cost between $15,000 and $25,000, Combs estimated.
Meanwhile, the governor, lieutenant governor and members of the Legislature are not allowed to take campaign contributions or seek contributions from the day after Sandoval issues the special session proclamation and 15 days after the end of the session, according to state law. The general election is about two months away and candidates are in the post-Labor Day stretch run.
That will take a bite out of the political campaigns of candidates like Sandoval, Assemblyman Andrew Martin, D-Las Vegas, who is running for state controller, plus state Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, and Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, who are locked in the race for lieutenant governor.
The special session would reportedly start Monday. Yet Combs may need more time.
"We would like to have a week to prepare for the start of a special session that does not occur at the end of a regular session, but we can get everything ready in less time if we need to do so," Combs said. "The minimum time we would need is three or four days."
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Read the original story: Tesla deal under fire from Nevada's right, left