Good sound bite bad for LV business

To the editor:

Thank you, President Obama, for bringing "change" to Las Vegas.

"You can’t get corporate jets, you can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime," President Obama said during a town hall meeting in Indiana this month. Great sound bite, Mr. President. Lousy business idea.

Thanks to Mr. Obama’s comments, many hardworking, taxpaying, union-dues-paying individuals in Las Vegas are now in the unemployment line instead of serving food on the buffet line.

As a retired corporate meeting planner of more than 30 years, I can tell you that incentive travel awards work. I can also tell you that Las Vegas, as the nation’s top business travel destination, is No. 1 for good reason.

It is a good place to hold meetings because of easy airline access, extremely low air fares and more than 140,000 hotel rooms that have very low rates. Plentiful inexpensive convention and meeting facilities, along with a wide range of dining and entertainment options, simply add to the long list of positive reasons to bring a meeting to Las Vegas. Meeting Planners International, a trade association for meeting planners, ranks Las Vegas as "best buy" year after year.

Wells Fargo recently canceled a meeting in Las Vegas at a cost of $600,000 in penalties. The company moved its meeting to San Francisco. Is that a cheap destination and a prudent way to spend corporate dollars?

Go to any of the travel Web sites and check out the cost of a hotel room and meals in the city by the bay. San Francisco ranks as one of the five most expensive cities in the United States. Then check air fares to San Francisco. You will find this adds an additional 20 percent to the cost of the meeting.

Las Vegas is and always has been the most cost-effective travel destinations in the country. That is why Las Vegas ranks No. 1, Mr. Obama.

I have also read with great dismay some of the comments from readers who think, like Mr. Obama, that bailed out firms who arrange business travel are wasting the taxpayers’ money. Incentive travel rewards those who have exceeded previous levels of achievement and brought increased profits to these corporations. That means more taxes for the corporations to pay and added taxes for the travel award winners as well.

In case Mr. Obama has not been briefed, allow me to explain. Travel award winners receive a 1099-MISC form from their company for the value of the trip they worked so hard to earn. They must add the dollar value of the trip they worked for to their "ordinary income" when they file their income taxes. Remember, too, that only the very top achievers go on these trips, not anybody who works for the company.

If Mr. Obama really wants to protect the taxpayers from abuse, why not take away House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s private jet, which she uses every week to fly home to California, nonstop, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $60,000 each way. No other speaker of the House has had such privilege.

I guess it only matters if it’s the other guy abusing the "taxpayer’s dime."

I can’t wait for Mr. Obama’s spin on this one.

Robert Schultz

HENDERSON

 

The One doesn’t feel our pain

To the editor:

This may come as a surprise to the economic advisers of The One: When tourists or conventioneers spend money here in Las Vegas, we don’t dig a hole in the desert and bury the dough as if it were a dead mobster.

Believe it or not, we use that money to pay bills, buy food, etc. And if there’s anything left over, we may spend some.

And, believe it or not, spending money, especially if one earns it first, is very patriotic because it gives employment to others, who then give employment to us. When money circulates, it stimulates the economy, circulates, stimulates, circulates, stimulates …

For those of us with full-time obligations but only part-time work, President Obama’s remarks about Las Vegas seem particularly insensitive. Comfortable government types, as a rule, with very few exceptions, simply don’t understand the real problems of real people who really work. If we think they feel our pain, we need our collective head examined.

JAMES PAPPAS

LAS VEGAS

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