In previous sessions we have approved millions of dollars in tax incentive programs to entice new businesses to come to Nevada. We have offered these incentives in the hope of bringing new businesses and higher paying jobs that will help Nevada recover from our current recession.
We have invested millions in economic development programs to show what a friendly business environment our state has along with a strong stable infrastructure. We have all of these incentives plus no corporate taxes. We are so focused on “enticing” that we have forgotten those businesses that helped us get here.
Nevada was a mining state from the very beginning. It has helped us build our cities and towns, helped in building our highways and much of our basic infrastructure. When other businesses failed, and moved to other states, mining was still here. But today we are trying to change our Constitution to make this boom or bust industry even more tenuous.
Mining employs over 25,000 Nevadans at an average salary of $88,000 per year. This is well over double the average annual salary in Nevada. Along with high salaries, they provide health care insurance, employee pensions, employee education assistance and scholarship opportunities.
Since the renewed interest in SJR15 and the continued threat of economic uncertainty along with the declining gold prices in the last two months, we are already feeling the impact on our local economy. One company has already laid off 125 employees and canceled a contract for a new mining operation.
Just this one bill has the power to close many of our smaller low ore mines around Nevada and change the way mining is done forever. Along with the loss of thousands of high paying jobs, this one bill can affect all types of mining: copper, gold, silver, lead and sheetrock. The list goes on and on. And every county in Nevada has some type of mining.
Nevada mines combined paid over $417 million in taxes alone in 2011, and 2012 will be substantially higher.
My colleagues, I stand before you today to ask you to please consider the impact that this one bill SJR15 can have on our state and our economy. I do not want to be remembered as being part of a plan to go down in Nevada history as the third largest tax increase and the loss of thousands of jobs.