Over the last several months, the governor and Steve Hill, his director of economic development, have reached out to the business community and have asked for our assistance. They want to know about any federal, state or local law, ordinance or regulation that is keeping entrepreneurs and business owners from expanding their operations and hiring more people. Our economic diversification efforts are heavily affected by the level of taxes, fees and regulations on a business. Our Chamber members deal with these factors at three levels of government and navigating the maze can be expensive and time-consuming.
Once given this charge, I sent out an email to our 2,200 member businesses asking for their input and suggestions. Unfortunately, we did not receive many responses. Given that the vast majority of Chamber members are very small businesses, it is understandable that many business owners spend every waking hour of the day ensuring that their customers’ needs are met, that payroll is made and that the lights stay on. Many of these folks may not even know what specific regulations affect them and certainly do not have the time to investigate further.
It should be noted that the city of Sparks has actively reached out to several stakeholders in our region asking for input and advice as it opens up its development codes to try to make them more user- and business-friendly. Jim Rundle and the rest of the planning staff should be applauded for their outreach on this issue.
The Chamber wants to hear from you. Is there a zoning or development issue that does not make sense? Are you having difficulties with state or federal OSHA? Or the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection or the EPA? Is there a particular fee that you are struggling with? Does Nevada’s tax structure make it difficult for your particular industry to thrive? The Chamber can only advocate effectively on your behalf if we have the right information. In short, we don’t know what we don’t know.
Nobody is suggesting that we eliminate all taxes, fees and regulations. Society and quality of life come at a cost. We are all responsible for the economic vitality of the Truckee Meadows. Our governments need a vibrant economy with active job creators in order to provide the services that we all need and demand. And businesses need an efficient, functioning government to serve and protect their livelihoods, property and customers, as well as a top-notch school district to educate and train our future workers. Our community works best when the public and private sectors work together to enhance economic growth and prosperity.
I know it takes time. I know you might not have the staff to do it. But at the very least, start thinking about the many ways that government affects your life and your business every day. Are there ways to do something better? Usually.You can reach us at The Chamber anytime. We work very closely with our state and local governments. We can help you. We just need to know what you need help with.
Christi Quatro is the director of communications at The Chamber. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.