Nevada is preparing to consider a bill that would allow companies to form their own local government, in a bid to attract top tech companies.
Tech companies are increasingly looking for alternatives to Silicon Valley, thanks to increased expenses and a pandemic-driven move to remote work. States all over the country are looking to attract such companies, although Nevada’s solution may be the most innovative.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Innovation Zones, first proposed by Gov. Steve Sisolak, would give companies the ability to form a separate local government. The new government would have the same authority as a county, be able to impose taxes, create school districts, justice courts and provide the kind of government services a county normally would.
The measure is designed to address what is seen as the inability of local governments to meet the needs of companies. A draft of the legislation, seen by the Review-Journal, says local governments are “inadequate alone to provide the flexibility and resources conducive to making the State a leader in attracting and retaining new forms and types of businesses and fostering economic development in emerging technologies and innovative industries.”
In order to qualify, companies would have to own at least 50,000 acres of uninhabited, undeveloped land, not part of any existing town, city or tax increment, but within a single county. The company would also need at least $250 million, with plans to invest an additional $1 billion over 10 years in the Innovation Zone.
The Innovation Zones are specifically for companies on the cutting edge of technology, such as artificial intelligence, autonomous technology, biometrics, blockchain, internet of things, renewable resource technology, robotics and wireless technology.
Initially the Innovation Zones would operate under the authority of the local county government, but eventually take over that authority and become independent.