Issue: The Nevada State Legislature continues to make it tough to be a horse in the Silver State
Status: Working Incident
Date: May 13, 2011
Through its unfathomable actions the Nevada State Legislature is continuing its unprecedented assault on horses of all kinds. A ban on horse tripping failed to get out of committee on the excuse that such things didn't happen in Nevada, only to be followed a few days later by a KRNV (Reno Channel 4) exposé and video of horses being tripped in a Winnemucca mangana (Mexican rodeo.)
This fiasco came on the heels of Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR5) that opposed certain proposed reforms to the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program and it preceded the Legislature's latest endeavor, Assembly Bill 329 (AB329,) that is aimed to prevent the Bureau of Land Management from being able to appropriate water within the state for wild horses.
Social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) have gone "viral" with angry posts from citizens across the world. An effort is underway to "blacklist" Nevada. Thousands of people are pledging not to spend money in Nevada as tourists or purchase Nevada products. The venom expressed on these sites is unmistakable. (See one example.)
Nevada residents are growing concerned because the image projected to the world by the state is essential to successful tourism marketing. The tourism industry is Nevada's largest employment sector. According to the Nevada Commission on Tourism,
Nevada is six times more tourism-dependent than the U.S. average with tourism accounting for 13 percent of Nevada’s overall statewide Gross Domestic Product.
Revenues from tourism and gaming produce 35 percent of the state's tax revenues. It appears that the Nevada State Legislature could be about to receive a lesson in marketing and economics. However the Legislature's answer may be to shift the burden of its folly onto the taxpayers. Senate Bill 495 would impose a "transaction tax," or a whole new tax, similar to the sales tax on merchandise, that would be imposed on virtually every kind of labor service other than health care.
This Legislature needn't worry about its impact on tourism revenues. If some of the tourists decide to stay home, Nevada citizens can be squeezed to provide the money needed to keep the state operating. What's a State Legislature for other than to make foolish decisions and legally extract money from its citizens?
The reality is that some people in the Nevada State Legislature need to wake up. Provocative approaches to dealing with state issues can and will alienate the state's "customer base," particularly when these very issues could be addressed in a less controversial manner. Quotes made by a couple of legislators that were dismissive of non-Nevadans have further inflamed this situation. Citizen comments such as, "If you don't respect my opinion, then you won't get my money" are being voiced in response.
It is not that this Legislature hasn't been warned by a number of people trying to preserve Nevada's tourism image. This Legislature either doesn't get it or it just doesn't care. It could be that Nevada is headed for tough times and the citizens need to be figuring out who is responsible.
Please fasten your seat belts and keep your head and arms inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. It's likely to be a rough ride.
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