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For Skeptic, Tax Breaks Dim Appeal Of Nevada's Embrace Of EVs


Associated Press

Entrepreneur Elon Musk, left, and then-Gov. Brian Sandoval in 2014 announce the decision to bring Tesla's Gigafactory to Nevada.

Michael Schaus likes EVs almost as much as he dislikes big government.

The communications director for the libertarian-leaning Nevada Policy Research Institute and self-described car guy says the market, not government, should decide the adoption of electric vehicles.

“I’m actually kind of excited about what’s going on with electric vehicles,” he told State of Nevada. “From an ecological standpoint, it makes a lot of sense in some circumstances.

“I’m just concerned about government playing the role of investor and helping private enterprise with tax dollars.”

Schaus questioned the wisdom of Nevada promising Tesla more than $1 billion in tax breaks to build its Gigafactory outside Reno.

“The argument here is that we gave them a bunch of tax abatements and they brought business to the state,” he said. “That to me is proof that lower taxes or more business-friendly environment would bring in far more jobs.”

Schaus argues that the deal to lure Tesla to Nevada wasn't really needed because the company was looking at moving to Nevada anyway. In addition, when government puts money to certain businesses or industries, it is picking winners and losers in the economy.

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He doesn't believe businesses need a boost to get started. Schaus points out that Silicon Valley didn't become the world's high-tech hub because a group of lawmakers sat down to make it happen.

“If an economy is relatively free and people have relative freedom to innovate and come up with new ways of doing business you will the diversification of the economy,” he said.

He also believes that market forces should drive the adoption of EV's rather than government incentives.

“Introducing subsidizes actually prohibits businesses from really innovating and driving to those customers because they don’t need to they’ve got money coming in regardless of whether or not they’re meeting consumer demands,” he said.

Schaus believes people will buy electric vehicles for their own reasons and that will push demand, bringing down costs without incentives. 

He also believes market forces will drive the expansion of charging stations around the country, along with improvements in charging and battery technology. Right now, charging can take several minutes to an hour or more but gassing up a car only takes only a few minutes.


Michael Schaus, communications director, Nevada Policy Research Institute


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