Mining Tax Debate in Carson City

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CARSON CITY -- "PLAN" (Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada) demonstrated outside the legislature Thursday, calling to remove a tax cap related to the mining industry. The mineral proceeds tax is currently capped by the state constitution. Demonstrators held a 'petition for divorce,' urging legislators to break with the industry.

"Mining will pay a 30 percent tax in Brazil, 25 percent tax in Peru but for us they think Nevada is only good enough to pay one percent in tax," Laura Martin of PLAN said.

Former state archivist Guy Rocha said the proceeds tax cap was determined at a time when the state's economy was very different.

"The territory was struggling and the mines were struggling today the state is struggling and the mining industry is booming," he said.

The mining industry responded with a statement. "The Net Proceeds of Minerals Tax alone -- a tax no other Nevada business pays -- was nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in 2011," the president of the Nevada Mining Association said in a statement.

Senate Joint Resolution 15, which would remove the cap, passed the legislature in 2011. It must again pass the legislature during this session, then voters would have to approve it to amend the constitution.