If a group of Nevada Republican senators has its way, mining in the state will get more expensive. Funding is needed for education, and while the state's teachers' union and other labor groups are pushing for the Education Initiative, a measure that would bring in funds from a broad-based margin tax, some Republican senators are staunchly opposed to that idea. Instead, they want to milk miners for the money.
The Education Initiative proposes a 2-percent tax on businesses with annual earnings over $1 million. Supporters of the measure have said that this new tax could raise $800 million per year, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek article. The matter will be put before the state legislature on March 15. If lawmakers do not take action, the matter will be placed on the 2014 ballot for consideration by Nevada voters, an NBC News report notes. Leading Nevada Republicans, such as Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, are opposed to this broad-based taxation, which has been called flawed and a job killer. He and his comrades were reportedly among the “no new tax” group. But now, as an alternative to the across-the-board business tax, the group believes Nevada should look to miners to improve education. Nevada's constitution currently limits how much miners can be taxed, allowing only the "net proceeds of mining" to be taxed, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal; currently these proceeds can be taxed at 5 percent. Republicans are hoping that Democrats will support the taxation of the "gross proceeds" of mining "with a severance tax or in other ways," another Las Vegas Review-Journal article notes. Those opposed to the current mining scheme say it amounts to special treatment of an industry that is profiting from non-renewable resources: the tax paid by miners is lower than the one paid by industries such as gaming, and critics are irked that the tax is charged only on net proceeds.