Nevada’s economic development is, as are many other areas of governance, relatively centralized; the only substantial local program is tax increment financing. Most local and state taxes are foregone through just five state programs: tax abatements for 1) aviation; 2) data centers; 3) machinery and equipment – which consists of four separate abatements collectively known as “Standard”); 4) renewable energy; and 5) mega projects – which has one set of provisions for investments of $1 billion or more and another set for investments of $3.5 billion or more. The biggest recipient in recent history is Tesla, which received nearly $1.3 billion under the $3.5-billion-investments program for its battery factory.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development is the main agency in charge of state subsidies which include, in addition to the ones above, a transferable film tax credit. The office also discloses program participants in annual and biennial reports.
Costs of tax expenditures are reported by the Department of Taxation in biennial reports. Not only does the state comptroller’s office issue the Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports, which have all the tax abatement programs, it also issues an annual report on the amount of sales and use tax revenues localities lost as a result of state programs. Even though these reports of local fiscal impact were generated by the Comptroller in response to Statement No. 77, they are not required and thus represent above-and-beyond efforts. Perhaps due to the data’s availability, Nevada’s localities generally report tax abatements.
On the other hand, other than a 2012 analysis by a private consulting firm, there have never been audits or reviews of subsidy programs to determine their effectiveness.