Mining has been a vital industry to Nevada from the very beginning. Since its admission into the union in 1864, Nevada has had special provisions in its constitution to support the mining industry.
Question 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot asks voters to reconsider that special status.
The state constitution requires a tax upon the net proceeds of minerals extracted in Nevada, not to exceed 5 percent. And since 1989, the rate has been 5 percent.
So will mining companies flee Nevada if their taxes are raised, or are we overdue to update the tax structure for mining?
Opponents point out the vital importance of mining in Nevada's economy. They insist that, given that importance, the state shouldn't change the mining tax structure, which has been at 5 percent since 1989.
Until 1989, the next proceeds tax rate was equal to the local property tax rate. But a constitutional amendment that year changed the rate and set the cap at its current 5 percent.
Meanwhile, supports of the ballot initiative agree mining is important to Nevada, but an update to its tax structure is overdue. Nevada is the No. 1 gold producer in the United States, and one of the top five in the world.
Laura Martin, communications director, Progressive Leadership Alliance for Nevada
James Wadhams, lawyer and director, Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas
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