The following comments were sent to the Elko Daily Free Press after the Nevada Legislature introduced a bill to create a gross revenue tax on large mines:
While we supported AJR1 as the best option to raise revenue for the long term needs of this state, the deal reached by lawmakers that we were just informed of is a positive first step to a future where mining is finally paying what they owe in Nevada. We thank our partners at the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) who fought for decades to get us here. It is because of them that we are even having this conversation. Starting with the special session last year, PLAN assembled and led a coalition of organizations and activists to tell lawmakers that we can’t keep kicking this can down the road. It’s past time to raise revenue for Nevada. As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, our communities are vulnerable to economic downturns that affect our tourism-reliant tax structure. Essential services get cut, and our students, educators, public sector workers, patients, and vulnerable communities suffer as a result.
We think this deal sets Nevada on the right path to finally have mining pay what they owe. In addition to PLAN, we also thank Speaker Jason Frierson, for working diligently with stakeholders to craft a deal amenable to everyone. His leadership has come through in the waning hours of this session to give us a solid starting point for raising revenue. We will work with PLAN, Speaker Frierson, and legislators in both houses to ensure this measure moves through the process before Monday night. We will be here with all our partners moving into future sessions to ensure Mining continues to uphold their end of this deal.
- Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Battle Born Progress
Today, the Nevada State Legislature introduced a compromise mining tax bill, intended to replace the three joint resolutions passed during last summer’s Special Sessions. The bill seeks to increase mining’s contributions to the state by over 100% and comes after deliberative conversation between Governor Sisolak, legislative leadership, and mining. Unlike other recent revenue sources, these dollars will go entirely to education, while also ensuring that Nevadans remain employed, rural counties remain funded, and mining operations remain viable.
-Tyre L. Gray, President Nevada Mining Association
Today we heard the news that a deal has been reached in Carson City that will at long last have the mining industry paying what they owe to this state. While we maintain that AJR1 would have been the ideal solution for raising revenue this session, this deal is a strong start to addressing the privileged position mining has held in Nevada’s tax code until now. The deal would add additional revenue to the Nevada public education system through a tax on gross mining revenue, with no sunsets. This gross tax will prevent mining companies from abusing generous deductions to get out of paying taxes like everybody else. After the American Rescue Plan funding is spent, we need to be sure we have a long term solution to chronic education funding problems and build into the future with sustainable sources of revenue.
While we will continue to push for what Nevadans truly deserve, this proposal will address the needs of the people in a meaningful way and allow our state the funding needed to maintain and build on critical public services immediately. Our priority has been passing long-term revenue reform, such as AJR1**, a community supported resolution that would achieve just that by removing the constitutional sweetheart deals that mining has had for decades. We can’t expect to fund future students, teachers, and healthcare by cutting their budgets while protecting the profits of corporations like mining and gaming.
We want to make clear that this deal wouldn’t have been possible without the research, advocacy, and community organizing PLAN has done for decades to build awareness around revenue and funding, and the imbalance of power between corporations and people, making Nevadans the 5th most unfairly taxed people in the country. For over 20 years, up to and including this legislative session, PLAN has run a people-focused campaign to move the needle and make sure mining would pay its fair share, mobilizing thousands of activists who called, emailed, wrote op-eds, and testified that mining needed to pay what they owe to Nevadans.
We thank our partners who have joined us in these efforts, who mobilized their own volunteers, members, and leaders to take action and contact their legislators about the urgent need to tax mining. We look forward to this legislation moving forward in the next two days and will work to hold legislators and the mining industry accountable for ensuring this money is collected and spent appropriately on funding public education.