CARSON CITY – Democrats in the Nevada Legislature on Saturday unveiled a last-minute bill that would increase taxes paid by mining companies as Democrats push to increase state revenues and better fund education.
The bill would create a new, multi-tiered tax structure specific to large mining companies and send the state’s share of mining tax revenue that has historically gone to the general fund instead of the account that finances public education.
As part of the compromise, the scholarship tax credit program will grow from $ 6.7 million in the next fiscal year to $ 11.4 million.
The new tax structure would impose a 0.75% tax on gross gold and silver income between $ 20 million and $ 150 million. This rate would increase to 1.10% for all income over $ 150 million.
The bill is Democrats’ latest attempt to raise mining taxes amid calls by educational and progressive groups to better fund public education, and represents a deal reached between the mining industry, centers of games, teachers’ unions and legislators at the end of the legislature. session that ends on Monday.
The bill was presented as a draft to the Ways and Means Assembly late Saturday evening.
“We believe this deal puts Nevada on the right track for the mines to finally pay what they owe,” Annette Magnus, executive director of progressive advocacy group Battle Born Progress, said in a statement.
Mining industry revenues fluctuate as the price of minerals goes up and down. In Nevada, gold and silver account for over 90% of the industry’s overall consumption.
The new proposal follows numerous other pressures from Democrats to change mining taxes during extraordinary legislative sessions last summer.
One plan called for a 60% cap on deductions given to mining companies, a move that would have generated around $ 55 million in additional revenue per year. But that proposal died after a public flip-flop by Republican Senator Keith Pickard, who signaled he would support the bill before finally voting against it.
In a subsequent session, lawmakers passed a trio of proposals to remove the 5% tax cap on the net proceeds of mined minerals enshrined in the state’s constitution. Two of the proposals would change this to a 7.75% gross product tax, which, based on industry revenues in 2019, could add up to an additional $ 540 million over the state’s two-year budget period. .
The third proposal, dubbed an “olive branch” for the mining industry, would have set the mining tax rate in line with that of property taxes, capped at 12 percent maximum. Using the same 2019 revenues, mining companies would have paid a total of $ 260 million in taxes instead of $ 113 million.
All three are constitutional amendments and should have been approved by the Legislature this year and again by voters in 2022.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.