In an editorial voicing support for Question 2, the Las Vegas Review-Journal began: “If voters approve Question 2 on this fall’s ballot, they will not increase taxes on Nevada’s mining industry.”
But that’s like saying if the Gibbons Tax Restraint law — which requires a two-thirds supermajority vote of the Legislature to approve any tax increase — is repealed (as many liberals hope), no taxes will be increased. Which is “technically” true. The problem is that both measures would not merely enable future tax hikes, they would almost guarantee them.
Indeed, make no mistake: If Question 2 passes, bills to increase the mineral tax on our mining community will be unleashed at warp speed!
In fact, liberals are salivating at the prospect, as well as Sen. Michael Roberson’s, Republican in Name Only-Las Vegas, “Dirty Half-Dozen” gang that proposed a whopping $600 million-plus tax hike on mining in the last legislative session. Worse, the money would be dumped into a dark hole deeper than any mine shaft … Nevada’s government-owned/bureaucrat-managed/union-operated public school system.
So if you vote for Question 2, just know that you are (a) voting for higher taxes and higher government spending, and (b) perpetuating our dead-last-in-the-nation status in education rather than forcing true reforms, including universal parental school choice.
And here’s another oft-overlooked point: In addition to the mineral tax, Nevada’s mining industry already pays every other tax that every other business pays. Oh, except, of course, for Tesla.
Indeed, while critics in the Legislature are complaining that the current cap on the mineral tax is unfair because it benefits only one industry (yeah, the one and only industry that pays it!), those same legislators last month eliminated the entire tax burden for the next 10 years for one company.
Now let’s do a little side-by-side comparison here, shall we?
Tesla’s battery factory is projected to create 6,500 jobs paying an average annual salary of around $52,000 and the operation will pay zero taxes in Nevada for the next 10 years.
Mining employs more than 12,000 rural Nevadans at an average annual salary of $90,000 and paid, in 2013 alone, a whopping $347.9 million in various taxes.
So we’re going to single out and give one newcomer company with no history or roots in Nevada a free ride for 10 years while jacking up the taxes on an industry that’s been a great corporate citizen since before Nevada achieved statehood and will pay over $3 billion in taxes during the next decade?
Yeah, that’s fair.
Oh, and for you Clark County voters who don’t think this affects you: Who do you think will be picking up the tab for all those unemployment, welfare and food stamp checks in the rural counties if mining in Nevada is harmed?
Vote “No” on Question 2.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.