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Special Protections for Mining Get Twin Hearings Today

May 2, 2013

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Lawmakers take up landmark legislation today that would allow Nevadans to vote to repeal tax protections for the mining industry in the Silver State. Bob Fulkerson, state director, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), says one sure sign that the mining industry needs to make a greater contribution can be seen in this week's Economic Forum projections. The independent panel is due out with numbers on how much key industries, like gambling and the hotel industry, will generate to help fund key state programs, such as education.

Fulkerson said mining is not even on the radar.

"The mining tax and the mining industry was not even part of the discussion, because it generates so little. It's a travesty, and that's why people are finally standing up and demanding an end to these 150-year-old tax breaks."

The Assembly Taxation Committee holds hearings in Las Vegas and Carson City this afternoon on the measure (SJR 15) that would repeal mining tax protections in the State Constitution. The Senate approved the joint resolution last month, and if the Assembly agrees, it would go to voters in 2014.

The mining industry has contended it is already doing its fair share when it comes to taxes, but Fulkerson said that is only true when it comes to property and sales taxes.

"Yeah, mining pays the same taxes that low-wage workers pay, that single women pay, that you and I pay, and that's great - they need to," he said. "But gold mining is different. Once you take that gold out of the ground, it is gone forever and you lose your ability to generate revenue for the state from it."

Today's vote will not raise one penny of tax on mining, he said, but it will untie the state's hands so that eventually lawmakers and the public can decide on a fair tax rate for the industry. At present, the top tier for the gaming tax is over 6 percent, while the mining industry typically pays about 1 percent of gross revenues to the state general fund under the Net Proceeds on Mining Tax, he explained.

Hearings are scheduled at 1 p.m. in Carson City (Room 4100, Legislative Building) and Las Vegas (Room 4406, Grant Sawyer Building). More information about the measure is available at www.leg.state.nv.us.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV