Steering a Course for Southern's Nevada's Future: Washington, D.C. Day 3
Thursday was our final day in Washington, D.C., full of robust policy discussions on issues important to our member businesses and the future of Southern Nevada. We had the opportunity to meet with experts from two top think tanks in Washington: The Brookings Institution and The Tax Foundation.
During a breakfast meeting at Brookings, Mark Muro and Robert Lang, shared information on how Las Vegas compares to its peer cities in the Intermountain West, primarily Phoenix, Denver and Salt Lake City, in areas such as transit and medicine. Our group had a lively discussion on potential next steps our city can take to expand its economic future.
Next stop was The Tax Foundation, which since 1937 has been doing research and analysis of tax issues at all levels of government. Joseph Henchman, vice president of Legal & State Projects, shared his perspective on tax policy around the United States. The Foundation’s principles of sound tax policy include: simplicity, transparency, neutrality and stability. In addition, the best tax systems are generally broad-based with low rates. For more information on their research and analysis of tax issues, you can go to www.taxfoundation.org.
In the afternoon, we met with Eric Seleznow, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor. We discussed several aspects of job training. As Nevada still has the highest unemployment rates in the country, finding resources to help out of work Nevadans have the right skills to obtain good jobs is vital.
The Obama Administration has been awarding significant grants to community colleges across the country in order to help workers get the training they need, and Mr. Seleznow recommended Southern Nevada’s community college, College of Southern Nevada, work with the business community to apply for one of these grants. In Denver, for example, a $25 million grant was awarded to several of its community colleges last week. He emphasized that community colleges and workforce boards need to be tied to the business community so that they are teaching the skills and degrees that employers need today and tomorrow.
As we conclude this trip, the conversations in Washington reinforce the fact it is essential that we look beyond our own borders for solutions. Whether collaborating with other states to address regional needs, looking at best practices in other cities and states or going to Washington, D.C. regularly to address issues on a federal level, the Metro Chamber is advocating, forming partnership and seeking the necessary resources to build a strong future for Southern Nevada.