There’s been a big push in Nevada recently to increase the tax on mining. An article in Bloomberg Businessweek highlights some of the details. Basically, what is happening is the state is trying to replace the lost gambling revenue by doubling the taxes paid by the mining industry.
In Nevada there is no state income tax. In the past the mountains of money the state collected from gambling was sufficient to cover expenses and therefore there was no need for a state tax. When the economy tanked in 2008 all that nice gaming money went away and Nevada has been in dire straits ever since.
Frankly, I’m shocked that the gaming industry allowed the state to saddle them with paying so much in taxes and fees. In Nevada, the big casinos are the main industry. If they had wanted to throw their weight around and get some changes to the state tax laws it probably would have happened. The fact that the casinos were okay with single-handedly supporting the state implies that there was an enormous amount of money being made.
Now that revenue from gaming is down, state officials are on the lookout for an industry as profitable and 'evil' as gambling and they think they have found it: mining.
To state lawmakers, the mining industry is run by corrupt corporations in the far north regions of the state where nobody matters anyway. They refuse to recognize mining as a proud heritage of many Nevadans. Mining is providing jobs and revenue at a time when not much else is going well for the state. Rather than praise mines and mine workers for a job well done the state is branding them as the enemy and asking voters to punish them by paying more in taxes.
Companies like Apple are given huge tax incentives to build new offices in Nevada but the backbone of the Silver State is being burdened with huge tax increases. The proposed taxes are not a few percentage points or a statewide income tax like they have in almost every other state. These changes would double the taxes paid by mining companies from 5% to 10%.
If your job is in any way related to mining, now is the time to speak up. If your industry provides support to mines or miners this will affect you. If you are currently wearing any gold or silver jewelry remember where that came from and be proud of a state that is not afraid to work hard to provide the resources that make life a little nicer for everyone else.