Constitutional amendment on ballot

Nevada voters will get to vote next year on whether to continue for the mining industry something that no other industry enjoys—a tax loophole written right into the Nevada Constitution.

On May 23, the Nevada Assembly gave final legislative approval to Senate Joint Resolution 15 of the 2011 Nevada Legislature. The measure needed to pass two legislatures before going to voters in 2014.

Opponents of the measure argued that mining might leave the state to take its business to places where mining faces lower taxes. Under existing Nevada law, mining companies—mostly foreign mining firms—can be taxed only on their net proceeds, a bargain when compared with taxes imposed in other jurisdictions in the United States and around the world. In addition, it caps the net proceeds tax at 5 percent.

The change would put mining on the same level as all other industries, none of which enjoy constitutional tax breaks.

S.J.R 15 passed the Senate on April 1 by a 17-4 vote. The only senator representing Washoe County who voted against passage was Don Gustavson.

It passed the Assembly by 26-15. Assemblymembers representing Washoe who opposed it were Ira Hansen, Pat Hickey, Randy Kirner and Pete Livermore.