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Tesla Sold $20 Million In Tax Credits To Vegas Casino

Chris Vega/courtesy of ThisisReno.com

Electric carmaker Tesla has received and sold about 20 million dollars in transferrable Nevada tax credits as it starts tapping into a hefty incentive package that lured its battery factory to the state.

Tesla confirmed Monday that it sold the credits to casino company MGM in an arrangement first reported by ThisisReno. Bob Conrad runs that online news site and he's also a KUNR contributor.

He says the tax abatements are part of a $1.3 billion dollar incentive package that state lawmakers approved in 2014.

“It’s important to note that Tesla’s getting these transferable tax credits as part of their incentive package that was approved by the legislature. So, yes, this is perfectly legal," Conrad explains. "It’s something that has been anticipated for some time. What my reporting did was actually show where the money went, which was kind of a new item that hadn’t really been publicized.”

Conrad says it took a number of months to get that information from the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development.

“And originally the records that were requested came back with pretty heavy redactions," he says. "I challenged those; some of the reasoning that they gave didn’t quite—in my opinion--fall within the Nevada Public Records Act, so they did un-redact a few emails.”

Supporters praise Tesla for diversifying Nevada's economy. Critics of the incentive package say local governments could suffer as Nevada forgoes some tax revenue while having to provide more services in order to handle population growth.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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