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Economy & Business | Legislature

IndyTalks: Can (and should) mining pay more in taxes?

A loader and haul truck at a Northern Nevada mine in April 2017. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

The topic of whether Nevada’s mining industry should, or could, pay more in taxes to the state isn’t exactly a new issue — but it’s one that’s attracted increased attention since lawmakers kickstarted the process of amending the state Constitution to potentially increase taxes on the industry.

Lawmakers in the 2021 Legislature have big choices to make, and could potentially send three proposed mining tax constitutional amendments to the 2022 ballot. In the meantime, the debate over mining taxes continues, which is why The Nevada Independent invited experts to discuss and debate the issue during an IndyTalks event on Tuesday evening.

Panelists included former Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Lorne Malkiewich, longtime mining industry lobbyist James Wadhams, and Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada Director Laura Martin. The panel was moderated by reporter Daniel Rothberg and Editor Jon Ralston.

Wadhams conceded that mining could pay more in taxes, but did not specify a number and warned that excessive taxation could drive mines out of business or drive the industry out of the state — and that commodity prices can be volatile and thus are not ideal for propping up the state’s tax base. Martin suggested that essential services including education and health care have been slashed in Nevada and that mining needs to contribute more to the state budget. And Malkiewich provided historical context and legal interpretations of a fight that dates back to the signing of the state Constitution in 1864.

Here is the full video of the panel discussion:

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