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MINING INVESTIGATION: Critics want mining industry to pay fair share of taxes

Reported by: Reed Cowan
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Updated: 3/05/2013 12:27 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- A billion-dollar player in Nevada business is getting away with highway robbery, say the critics of Nevada's mining industry.

Mining -- they say -- takes Nevada gold and other materials without paying their fair share.
Coming Tuesday: Big mining responds to the criticisms and answers the accusations that deductions make them pay almost nothing.

In the Nevada state constitution, one will not see protections for any other industry in our state. The only industry protected by the state constitution is mining.

Some say that because of the protection, mining pays next to nothing in taxes. They want mining's protections taken out of the constitution. Critics say without an important piece of legislation currently on the table, taxpayers are getting the shaft.

Nevada mining is pumping big bucks in to big ad campaigns to convince Nevadans that the industry is good for the state.

That's the message hitting at the exact same time a piece of legislation threatens to take protections for mining out of Nevada's state constitution.

Former Nevada state Sen. Sheila Leslie is joining a growing chorus of people wanting you to understand the history of mining in Nevada and why our own state constitution seems to safeguard the industry from paying higher taxes.

You might think 5 percent of this megabillion-dollar haul of gold is pretty good for the state. But there's a catch. Critics say mining is allowed to deduct hundreds of millions of dollars for what they pay to get the gold, and after deductions, it is only taxed on a smaller amount.

Leslie says mines in Wyoming pay 20 percent to 25 percent to that state's general fund, contrasted with what she says is only 1 percent after deductions paid by big mining in Nevada.

Nevada gold and other materials leave -- never coming back -- and people outside our state getting rich off of it without paying what other mining operations in other states have to pay.

Some heavy hitters in Clark County have weighed in on this, including Steve Wynn, in recent years. So many people saying if mining paid more, our cash-strapped state would have desperately needed resources.
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