State panel leaders cautious about bid to merge agencies

CARSON CITY — Representatives of two Nevada commissions that would merge under a proposal from Gov. Jim Gibbons remained tight-lipped Wednesday about the effect of the merger on their job of improving the economy and generating revenue for the state.

The state Commission on Tourism and the Commission on Economic Development both improve the economy through their efforts to draw tourists and companies to Nevada, although representatives said their methods of accomplishing their goals are very different.

Michael Skaggs, director of the Commission on Economic Development, said that outside of administrative support roles there’s not a lot of overlap in job descriptions between the two panels.

The tourism panel’s efforts to draw visitors "are really different than things like the incentives we have put together," Skaggs said, referring to incentives designed to draw renewable energy companies.

The main savings from the proposed merger would result from elimination of the position of tourism director. Over two years, the Commission on Tourism would save nearly $300,000. But because the commission would incur moving costs, some of those savings would be lost.

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