This November, voters will decide whether to remove the five percent cap on mining taxes in the Nevada Constitution. Last week Vegas PBS hosted a debate on ballot question 2. Bob Fulkerson of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada argues in favor of it.
“Last year, Nevada’s world class gold industry raked in $8.1 billion dollars and paid to the state general fund $74 million dollars in mining taxes, for a tax rate of less than one percent,” Fulkerson says.
Fulkerson compares that to the gaming industry, which paid a 6.6 percent tax rate. He says passing this measure would enable legislators to decide whether mining should pay more taxes.
Attorney and mining lobbyist James Wadhams opposes the measure. He says that increasing taxes would significantly increase the cost of doing business.
“So the cost of extracting a mineral, you add to that the cost of taxation--an increased taxation--there will be jobs that will disappear,” Wadhams says.
According to Wadhams, the mining industry provides high paying jobs in Nevada, with an average salary of almost $90,000.
When Nevada’s constitution was adopted in 1864, language to protect mining was included in order to protect that industry because it was the only major one at that time.