Recent efforts to block a 2018 vote to ban smoking in casinos and other smoking establishments has backfired.
On June 13, 2018, City of Mesquite staff presented their financial assessment of city revenue should citizens vote to ban smoking in businesses not currently covered by Nevada’s smoking ban law.
They reported that the initiative could result in a maximum loss of $(3,675,116) or a maximum gain of $3,675,116. Thus, they don’t know.
The staff reported that it would cost between $10,000 and $15,000 to put the issue on the ballot and a new city employee valued at about $100,000 may be necessary to enforce the law. Those costs are easily offset by revenue gains from healthy people living and gaming longer.
Mesquite city council members were told that residents would save $13.3 million over five years ($2.6 million annually) in health care costs if the voting public approved a comprehensive clean indoor air ordinance. Health savings and their impact on city revenues were deemed out of scope by the city employees who prepared the report. How much is a healthy gambler worth?
On June 26th Clark County District Judge William Kephart granted a restraining order and preliminary injunction against those supporting a non-smoking ballot initiative. Arguably the Judge felt that the petition was too vague. Thus, the Judge felt those signing the petition may not have fully understood its scope. That order, if upheld, invalids the signatures on the petition. Therefore, no will be no 2018 vote on the issue. Fair enough.
Thanks to the lawsuit local citizens for a smoke-free community will now prepare a tighter petition for the 2020 election year. Thanks to the neutral financial impact statement the Collation is free of any negative cost impact statements biasing the 2020 smoke free ballot initiative.
Michael M. McGreer, Ph.D